The Fifth Annual Youth Parliament came to an end today, with students of the University of Guyana (UG) taking on a range of issues in a thrilling debate session.
While the opposition side of the House came out victorious, scoring a total of 939 points, together, the Youth Parliamentarians were said to have “outdone” themselves in the exciting debates. The government side followed with 865 points.
The mostly International Relations (IR) students debated motions on the formulation of a comprehensive policy document to address the entry of migrants and refugees to Guyana, the Amendment to the Representation of the People Act (Chapter 1:03) to include youth participation in governance, and the use of funds generated from the oil and gas sector. The Youth Parliamentarians also defended a motion to amend Article 155 (1) (a) of the Constitution, which prevents Guyanese with dual citizenship to serve in the National Assembly.
Foreign Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, Representative from the Centre for Communication Studies of the university, Nelsonia Persaud-Budhram, and Regional Radio Manager of the National Communications Network Inc. (NCN Inc.), Michella Abraham-Ali, were the debate’s judges.
Led by David Braithwaite, the opposition side moved the motion on the use of funds generated from the oil sector.
The government side introduced the other three motions, but it was the presentation of Shadow Minister of Communities, Safraz Yacoob, in the amendment of Article 155 (1) (a) that earned him the ‘Best Speaker’ title.
Prime Minister Hayma Joseph’s compelling arguments touched on each of the motions. This was enough to see her gaining ‘Best Debater’ with 262 points.
The winners were announced by Chief Judge – Foreign Secretary Greenidge, who commended both sides for their gut and perseverance. He said the participants did themselves “justice” and would be excellent future debaters in the National Assembly.
Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nayman Gill, moved the motion for the Amendment of Article 155 (1) (a) of the Constitution, calling for the relaxation of that law which excludes Guyanese with dual citizenship from serving in the House.
But Minister of Public Health, Jamain Hatton, outrightly rejected the proposition saying that such a move will bring more harm than good to the country.
The Youth Parliamentarians were in agreement as they suggested ways in which funds from the upcoming oil and gas industry will transform all sectors and ultimately the country.
Minister of Natural Resources, Suphane Dash Alleyne, said Guyana will take all necessary steps to prevent the Dutch disease.
“We as a people must consider the future and avoid the crises [that] our sister nations are going through as they have the roads, bridges and hospitals, but when the economic crises struck, they are nothing but remnants of what once was,” she told the House.
Minister of Social Cohesion, Orlando Belle, proposed an amendment to the Representation of the People Act (Chapter 1:03). He said this in keeping with the National Youth Policy, which dictates that young people must have representation on Parliamentary Committees. He believes that young people are agents of social change, technological advancement and economic growth.
Minister of Citizenship, Shekina Stuart called for the formulation of a comprehensive policy document to address the entry of migrants and refugees to Guyana. (Department of Public Information)