National Youth Parliament 2004 launched
Guyana Chronicle
December 10, 2003

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NATIONAL Youth Parliament (NYP) 2004 was officially launched yesterday with a ceremony in the auditorium of the National Library, Church Street, Georgetown. There, representatives of the Guyana Youth Development Association (GYDA) outlined the objectives of the forum and its intended benefits in molding future leaders of the nation.

The sitting of NYP 2004 will be held on May 27, 2004 in the Savannah Suite of Le Meridien Pegasus, Kingston, Georgetown.

The objectives of the National Youth Parliament are:
> To provide a forum through which, potential young leaders can air their views, ideas and opinions in an unrestricted and constructive manner and to create self-confidence and intellectual stability.

> To nurture and improve the argumentative and reasoning ability of young people in an effort to develop capable leaders.

> To encourage young people to think and respond to ideas in a timely and professional manner.

> To foster tolerance, patience and self-discipline through debates.

The issues discussed at NYP are formulated into a concept paper that is presented to the relevant authorities. This document aims at effecting decisions that would benefit youths positively.

But NYP will be taking a step further towards integration into the wider national development plan, Founder Member of the Guyana Youth Development Association Mr. Kwame McCoy has said.

McCoy said that the National Youth Parliament will be institutionalised allowing for a permanent structure which will be fully representative and inclusive. The organisation is set to bring this into being by February 2005.

Each of the ten administrative Regions across Guyana will have an opportunity to have a representative on the forum after having elections in those Regions.

Through this forum, young people will be taught to mobilise at the local level and to get involved in activities that can lead into competitions with other young people.

The institutionalisation programme began this year with study missions to Canada and the United Kingdom, McCoy disclosed. However, there is still a large volume of work to be done before the institutional framework is established.

Nevertheless, work is ongoing to ensure the deadline set out in the concept paper is reached.

Chief Magistrate (Acting) Mrs. Juliet Holder-Allen, who gave the keynote address at yesterday’s event, said she was impressed with most of the participants of past National Youth Parliaments who went on to distinguish themselves in one way or another.

Mrs. Holder-Allen said that the young people of this nation are its most important asset, since it is the young people who will ensure the survival of the nation. They will also build upon the successes and achievements of their elders, she pointed out.

“The mind of a young person is a terrible thing to waste. We all witness the waste of the minds of many young people in the society everyday,” she stated.

The Chief Magistrate explained that activities such as the National Youth Parliament give her hope, for at such gatherings, one can witness the refinement and distinction of some of the most brilliant young men and women that populate the Guyanese society today.

Mrs. Holder-Allen said she believes that the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport is the most important Ministry in the Government since its mandate is to manage the most important resources in the country -- the young people.

That mandate, she said, is to create a vision for them to participate in the building of their country and for them to develop the strength to put on the mantle and carry on where the seniors have left off.

“Without this vision, all of our efforts and the foundation that we are building today will all be in vain,” the Magistrate said.

She noted that years ago it was said that Guyana exported the brightest men and women from this part of the hemisphere. However, Holder-Allen noted, she does not subscribe to the concept of exporting people, but would prefer to see them remain and assist in the country’s development.

In her view, the concept of Guyanese men and women being counted among the brightest in this hemisphere is as true today as it was years ago.

NYP Coordinator Ms Shion Thomas, who was also a candidate of a past National Youth Parliament, disclosed that the experience brought her tremendous benefits that helped in molding her future.

Thomas noted that while young people have a lot of ideas, it is not very often that those ideas are channelled in the right directions to effect decisions that will positively impact the future of young people.

She cautioned that the NYP forum should not be seen as one that mimics the adults as they carry on their duties in the National Assembly. The youth body, she said, should serve to debate topics that are pertinent to youths and their future. It should also deal with those issues they feel are being overlooked by adults. (Jaime Hall)