JIS News

Youth leaders from across the island on (Nov.12) mooted a number of issues affecting young people in the society at the fifth National Youth Parliament held at Gordon House.
Among the issues raised and debated by the 46 youth leaders were: sex crimes, protecting the rights of the child, improving education, societal violence and attitudes to Jamaica’s ancestral history. They also called for amendments to laws, approved motions, and tabled a myriad of recommendations at the mock assembly.
A lengthy debate on the penalty for child abusers dominated the proceedings, with the members agreeing to a ‘two strikes and you’re out’ system.
The opposition members, who favoured the two strikes system, argued that the measure would provide for the offender to receive counseling and to be rehabilitated back into society. It was also suggested that sensitization programmes be put in place to help parents detect signs of abuse in children; for greater powers to be assigned to the Office of the Children’s Advocate; penalties for teachers who do not report evidence of child abuse; as well as guidance and counseling facilities in communities and schools.
Other motions passed at the mock parliament were: the formation of a committee against crime; and the integration of ancestral history in the school curriculum under the Education Transformation Programme.
The youth parliamentarians also made recommendations to improve the education system including the building of more schools, ending the shift system and making education compulsory.
On the involvement of youth in gang violence, they called for more effective community policing; the strengthening of the Values and Attitudes Programme; and the provision of more job opportunities and resources towards the training of young men. Youth leaders in schools were also urged to advocate for the rights of all including the underprivileged youths in the society.
Angellique Virtue from the National Secondary Students Council, wore the ceremonial robes of Speaker of the House; Prime Minister of the day was Tamian Beckford from the United Nations Youth Advocacy group; while Jeron Green, a University of the West Indies student, was Leader of the Opposition for the day.
The National Youth Parliament was opened by Delroy Chuck, Speaker of the House, with statements by Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Senator Warren Newby and Director, National Centre for Youth Development, Ohene Blake.
The assembly was part of National Youth Month observances under the theme: ‘I am the Inspiration’.