Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Robert Morgan, is encouraging Jamaica’s youth to craft and devise solutions that can help in the country’s recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Young people’s thinking and energy – that’s what we need to move forward, to recover stronger from the current challenges we face,” he said.
Mr. Morgan, who was addressing the sitting of the National Youth Parliament of Jamaica at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on Monday (November 30), stressed that the input of young minds in finding possible solutions to the pandemic, is even more important given that “the world is scrambling; nobody knows what to do”.
“There is no template of action. We are in a process where its trial and error – lock down, don’t lock down; Christmas, no Christmas; school, no school. What do we do? What is your role in this conversation; what is your role in this action? Are you presenting. as young people, solutions to the country to assist us as policymakers, as civil servants, as leaders, as to what we should do for the country generally or for young people?,” he queried.
He reminded young Jamaicans in leadership roles of “the awesome power that you have in shaping a better future for our society”, further advising them not to think that because of their youth they have no impact.
He pointed out that Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, became a Member of Parliament at 25 years old, and that in 2013 he was himself a Junior Opposition Spokesperson on Education in the Youth Parliament.
In the meantime, Mr. Morgan charged the members of the National Youth Parliament of Jamaica, whom he described as “a cohort of well-rounded, articulate, thinking young people”, to use the opportunity as a springboard towards greater national involvement.
He noted that they “have the credibility by sitting in this room, to lead the change towards a new Jamaica”.
“Do not just see the Youth Parliament as a place to come and sit and ‘knock desk’, because, fundamentally, you have pride of place by merely sitting here in leading the change for the greater good and the better development of your country,” he said.
In his remarks, President of the Senate, Senator the Hon. Thomas Tavares-Finson, told the youngsters that their participation in the Youth Parliament “is not a waste of time; it is not a tick on your résumé. It is an important step and something that you can use to advance yourself”.
He also encouraged them to participate in politics in order to make impactful contributions to national development.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert, also encouraged the youngsters to grasp the opportunities that come with their participation in the Youth Parliament.
“I want to urge you to think out of the box and in so doing build your resilience. I want to recommend that you develop a multiplicity of skills sets so that you are able to function in any situation,” she added.
Also addressing the youth leaders were Acting Clerk of the Houses of Parliament, Valrie Curtis; Political Ombudsman, Donna Parchment Brown; Youth Outreach Officer, National Integrity Action, Jamie-Ann Chevannes; and Chairman, Youth Advisory Council of Jamaica, Malike Kellier.
The Youth Parliamentarians met to debate issues related to youth development. The sitting was held under the theme ‘Youth: Resilient through Entrepreneurship, Training, Hope, Innovation, Networking and Knowledge (reTHINK).’
The National Youth Parliament, which is a joint effort between the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, and the Houses of Parliament, is one of the activities for Youth Month in November.