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The Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Olivia Grange, has assured youth advocates who participated in Youth Parliament today (Monday Nov 9) that their concerns, deliberations and recommendations would not be ignored.
Minister Grange told the seventh Youth Parliament that the Government was eager to hear the youth perspective on important national issues.
Minister Grange said:”I want to make it abundantly clear – this is not a mock Parliament; this is Youth Parliament and this is a very important exercise. So, I’m pleased that you have responded to our encouragement to get involved in building your country. I’m happy that you have taken the time to prepare the presentations that you will deliver today. You have my assurance that your Government, of which I am a part, will be listening.”
The youth gave presentations on youth entrepreneurship, education and employment, child care and protection, and the influence of music on the youth.
Minister Grange reminded the young advocates that last year’s group recommended the establishment of the National Youth Parliamentary Watch to make Youth Parliament more meaningful. The Youth Parliamentary Watch Committee was launched last week by the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Senator Warren Newby.
“We listened and we acted”, said the Minister.
The Committee will help to transform Youth Parliament from an event to a programme in which youth advocates will continually review bills before the Parliament and lobby for the youth perspective to be considered and reflected in what legislators propose.
Minister Grange said the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture was committed to ensuring the independence of the Committee, but said her Ministry was willing to guide the young advocates when they need assistance. She called on her fellow legislators to pay attention to what the youth have to say.
Minister Grange said:”I challenge my colleagues in Parliament and all of Jamaica to give the youth a chance. Guide them by all means, but listen to them, you can learn from them too. Youth of Jamaica, I shall always give you a listening ear and I shall always give you my support.”
Minister Grange announced a welcomed change for next year’s Youth Parliament programme:”I want to announce to you this morning that Youth Parliament, come next year, will be held on the same day as the regular parliamentary sitting. So the day will begin with you meeting in session; and after your session, we seniors will have our own sitting.”
Youth Parliament is organised by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture through the National Centre for Youth Development.

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