President addresses National Youth Parliament – highlights its importance to youths learning about parliamentary democracy
Georgetown, GINA, November 21, 2013
The 13th Sitting of the National Youth Parliament (NYP) was called to order this morning after President Donald Ramotar addressed the young legislators about Parliamentary norms and practices and the current situation in the National Assembly.
Held in the Eastern Conference room of the Guyana International Conference Centre (GICC), the Parliamentary-like setting included Members of Parliament (MPs) on the Government and opposition sides.
Among them are individuals with Ministerial portfolios, those in the shadow capacity on the opposition side and backbenchers.
President Donald Ramotar greeting ‘opposition’ members of the National Youth Parliament at the Guyana International Conference Centre
An order paper similar to the document used in the National Assembly was circulated carrying the names of MPs and the order in which speakers are to appear.
Members were also slated to participate in a main debate on the need to regulate the media in Guyana to make it accountable, transparent and responsible to the public so as to enhance democracy and secure national interest.
The Speaker presiding was Dana King-Waithe, Clerk Paula Luyken, Deputy Clerk Keomar Griffith and Sergeant-At-Arms Alex Persaud.
President Ramotar who was inducted an Honorary Member of the NYP commended the organisers of the forum for “allowing young people to make their voices heard on issues that are extremely important.”
The NYP is held each year in November, with a subvention from the government and fund raising activities. Invitations are extended to youths from across the country to become members.
The Head of State said the aim was to inculcate the spirit of democracy in the nation’s youth. “This is something that is extremely healthy for our society, for creating a deeper appreciation for democracy, for at a very early age to know… the whole practice of parliamentary democracy,” President Ramotar said.
Government and Opposition Members of the National Youth Parliament during the 13th sitting in the Guyana International Conference Centre (GICC)
Unlike the configuration of the Tenth Parliament, the Government side of the NYP was in the majority by three-seats and tabled before the “House” a Bill titled “Unanimous Support for Government Infrastructural Development Projects.”
The opposition represented by 26 members tabled a Motion calling on the Government and non-government parties to honour obligations to the nation’s youth and work towards feasible and long- term solutions for the problems at the University of Guyana. The opposition also demanded of the NYP its involvement in offering solutions for the problems at the tertiary institution.
The topics debated, particularly the one on infrastructure, were of interest to the President who spoke about the political opposition voting down major infrastructure projects in the Parliament; among them the Cheddi Jagan International Airport expansion, interior airstrips and the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project.
President Donald Ramotar addressing the opening session of the National Youth Parliament
With a one seat majority, President Ramotar accused the political opposition of breaking the rules governing the Parliament and using the legislature for narrow agendas.
In the near future the NYP will be focusing on attracting participation from youth representatives in all 10 administrative regions and facilitating debating competitions on a monthly basis.
Executive Director Kwame McCoy said the young parliamentarians also intend to submit to the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport, recommendations emanating from the NYP sittings.