Videos: 2011 Convening Of Youth Parliament

November 18, 2011

While reversing the current downward economic spiral remains Government’s primary focus, associated socio-economic issues primarily effecting Bermuda’s young people need to be addressed if the island is to avoid trouble in the future, Youth Premier Ryan Robinson Perinchief has said.

The Reconvening of Youth Parliament took place yesterday [Nov.17] at the House of Assembly, with a speech from the Youth Premier as well as an address from Premier Paula Cox.

The Youth Premier said, “It is no secret that we in Bermuda are currently facing many challenges including an increase in violent crime and downturn in our economy.

“However, there are other less prevalent concerns that are undoubtedly and steadily growing within our society.

“We, the young people, are up against various social issues we must constantly face. It is our strong belief that if these issues are not addressed, the end result will be disastrous for our country.”

The Youth Premier went on to address a number of other issues including harsher punishment for crime, gang violence, peer pressure, unemployment, health, escalating use of drugs, the need for support for young people in unfortunate circumstances and more.

“In the case of many of these issues, we have already seen and felt its effects,” said the Youth Premier. ”However, in a 21st century society, we must not only be reactive, but we must seek to avert the appearance of more issues of the same nature.”


The Youth Parliament of Bermuda was founded in 1985, and has grown to have approximately 40 registered MYPs [Members of Youth Parliament].

Supervised by adult advisers, the Youth Parliamentarians meet on Wednesday afternoons at the House of Assembly.

The Youth Parliament Bermuda models Bermuda’s official Parliament, striving to represent the young people of Bermuda, and also make recomendations to the Government of Bermuda.

Youth Premier Ryan Robinson Perinchief is 15 and attends The Berkeley Institute.

The 2011 Youth Cabinet consists of Deputy Premier and Minister of Youth Development & Family Affairs Sierra Botkin, BHS; Minister of Youth Justice and Rehabilitation Maxanne Caines II, Warwick Academy; Minister of Youth Education & Employment JaShonae Smith, MSA; Minister of Youth Culture Cayla Wade, Berkeley; Minister of Youth Athletics & Recreation Leah Brookes, Warwick Academy; Minister of Youth Health & Safety Gianni Nesbitt, Saltus; Minister of Tourism & Transport Glenn Simmons, Berkeley; and Minister of the Environment Michaela Ratteray, Saltus.

Video #1: Opening & Welcome

Throne Speech delivered by Youth Premier Ryan Robinson:

Premier Paula Cox At Youth Parliament:

Premier Paula Cox at Youth Parliament, Part #2:

Remarks and Closing of the Youth Parliament:

The full Youth Parliament Throne Speech:

Madam President, Madam Speaker, and Members of Youth Parliament,It is no secret that we in Bermuda are currently facing many challenges, including an increase in violent crime, and a downturn in our economy. However, there are other less prevalent concerns that are undoubtedly and steadily brewing within our society. We, the young people, are up against various social issues that we must constantly face. It is our strong belief that if these go un-addressed, the end result will be disastrous for our entire country. However, as Sir John Swan mentioned just last month in the RG, “The problem is NOT our young people, it is our society.”

Not often are the views of our young people in this country expressed, and when they are, more often than not, they go unnoticed. As Sandra Meucci, a Sociologist focused on Youth Policy, has said, “Rather than simply standing or speaking for children, we also need to stand with children speaking for themselves…” Bearing this in mind, it is essential that Youth Parliament remain a means through which we as young people may come to voice our views and opinions on new and pressing issues affecting us.

Although our Session has not been officially declared open until today, we have been meeting and working since September to identify, discuss and provide solutions for issues prevalent in our society. We have recently debated the option of privatizing the public transportation system, with the majority of the house not in favour, citing concerns of lack of control and accountability.

Another matter discussed was the decriminalization of marijuana, and the positive and negative effects it could possibly have on our island. Furthermore, discussions took place surrounding the belief that harsher consequences are needed for serious crimes, such as murder. The topic of the death penalty was debated, which resulted in the majority of the House being not in favour. However, after an inquiry conducted on our Facebook page, there was a clear majority of people voting in support of the death penalty. In the eyes of this Youth Parliament, this shows the blatant lack of satisfaction with the judicial consequences currently in effect.

Madam President, Madam Speaker, and Members of Youth Parliament,

This Youth Parliament is constantly striving to improve its internal structure, giving members ample chances to take on extra responsibilities and initiative. In an effort to serve our young people better, we have decided that this year, the Ministries in our cabinet will not mirror those in the real government. Instead, we have named our Ministries to facilitate our ability to address the respective issues affecting our young people.

Although the Youth Cabinet and Shadows were only announced last week, some have already initiated drafting recommendations to be deliberated within the House, before sending them forward to our listening Government at later dates. Our Minister of Youth Development and Family Affairs, Sierra Botkin, has already begun to draft a proposal that will help to improve the child support systems within our country; Her objective being, to assist programs that help children in bad circumstances stay above the law.

During this session, Youth Parliament will hold various discussions and debates. We will also hear from guest speakers on motions presented by the members that we feel are of great significance in relation to current events, and from motions pertaining to the plans outlined in this year’s Speech from the Throne.

Madam President, Madam Speaker, and Members of Youth Parliament,

Discussion topics of our 2011-2012 sessions will include, but are not limited to, the issues affecting the youth of Bermuda, and which pose a serious threat to our young people. Some of the issues that our Youth Parliamentarians have identified include gang violence and peer pressure, education and employment, health and the escalating use of drugs, support for young people in unfortunate circumstances, bullying, an increase in STDs, and an increase in sexual activity among teens.
In the case of many of these issues, we have already seen and felt its effects. However, in a 21st century society, we must not only be reactive, rather, we must seek to avert the appearance of more issues of the same nature.

Additionally, sustainability and our impact on the environment has become an increasingly prevalent concern. It is we, the young people, who will have to live with the consequences of decisions made today. Therefore, it is imperative that we bring forth innovative solutions that will guide Bermuda into a more green and eco-friendly environment. This means looking at alternative ways to generate electricity, as well as solutions to reduce our carbon footprint.

Furthermore, one of the most pressing issues regarding our youth… is the increase in gun violence and gang activity. In this year’s Speech from the Throne, the Government has committed to apprehending those responsible, and discouraging those at risk from joining a destructive lifestyle. Discussing this pressing issue is a top priority for this Youth Parliament, as we are the ones who face this matter on a daily basis, and can give first-hand insight.

In an effort to make certain that our voices are heard, we will endeavour to have our own page in the weekly section of the newspaper, Youth News. We will also spread our views, and request feedback, through our Facebook page and website.

In addition, we will also continue to serve as an educational medium regarding Government procedures, while fostering relationships between our youth, and political figures in our society.

Madam President, Madam Speaker, and Members of Youth Parliament,

As stated in our motto, the youth of today are our leaders of tomorrow. Many of us often forget this, and the power to make a difference in our society is often underestimated, not only by adults around us, but by ourselves. As former British politician, Benjamin Disraeli stated, “The Youth of a Nation are the trustees of posterity.”

Therefore, it is our responsibility to recognize the strength that everyone in this House holds, and that Youth Parliament also serves as a voice to be heard not only by our Government, but by the providers of youth services, and by our whole community. We must strive to be pro-active in our roles as leaders; lobbying for change in the best interest of our young people whenever possible, being active in the community, and serving as a medium to voice the views of our fellow young people.

Madam President, Madam Speaker, and Members of Youth Parliament,

I hereby extend my gratitude for your interest and support in hearing the plans for the further direction of our fellow Youth Parliamentarians throughout the 2011-2012 session, which is now open.

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Comments (9)

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  1. BermyMiss says:

    Excellent !

    • Not supporting Youths says:

      The youth premier gave the best speech we have ever heard from a youth. The premier’s response was superb. The leader of the opposition was missing in action.

  2. We would like to thank everyone who came out to support us, and look forward to serving our young people in the near future.

    For more information about Youth Parliament, visit our website at http://www.youthparliamentbermuda.com, or our facebook page, facebook.com/YouthParliamentBermuda .

  3. Well Done says:

    I attended this event yesterday, I was proud to be a Bermudian, our future is in great hands.

    Well Done to Mr. Owen Darrell, your efforts have born tremendous fruit…

  4. Not supporting Youths says:

    What was horrible was that leader of the opposition on training wheels, Craig Cannonier rsvp and told the youth parliamentains he would attend and not only did not show up but did not apologize nor send anyone to respresent him. NO OBA showing was meaning that OBA does not belive in our youths

  5. Taurus says:

    Some very good ideas put forward by the youth parliament !! Was inpressed by the way the youth premier projected his speech.It definitely was one of the best speeches I’ve heard !!

  6. I'm Amazed says:

    Excellent speech by the Youth Premier, and congratulations to all of the young people in this group! How wonderful to finally highlight some of the positive things that our youth are involved in. They have much to offer, and hopefully their voices will be heard.