Youth Parliament Opens, Deliver Throne Speech

November 17, 2013

Bermuda’s Youth Parliament held their official opening at The House of Assembly on Wednesday [Nov 13], with Youth Premier Kennedy Middleton delivering the Youth Throne Speech.

There are approximately 30 students that are part of Youth Parliament, representing the Berkeley Institute, CedarBridge Academy, Saltus Grammar, Bermuda High School, Mount Saint Agnes, and Somersfield Academy.

  • The Speaker of Youth Parliament is Kjeld Conyers Steed from Cedarbridge Academy
  • The Youth Premier is Kennedy Middleton from Mount Saint Agnes
  • The Youth Opposition Leader is Glenn Simmons from The Berkeley Institute
  • The Youth Clerk is Tess Spenser from Saltus Grammar School

The Youth Premier, Kennedy Middleton

image001

At the opening, there were a number of Politicians present including Cole Simons [OBA], Susan Jackson [OBA], Nandi Outerbridge [OBA], Zane DeSilva [PLP], Walton Brown [PLP], Derrick Burgess [PLP], Renee Ming [PLP], Alexis Swan [OBA], Diallo Rabain [PLP] and Joan Dillas- Wright [IND].

The Official Opening consisted of the Throne Speech delivered by the Youth Premier, remarks by each politician, remarks by the Clerk to the Legislature Mrs. Shernette Wolffe, and remarks by the Senior Advisor of Youth Parliament, Mr. Owen Darrell

Youth Parliament meets every Wednesday from 4pm-6pm in the House of Assembly. All high school students are welcome to attend if recommended by their school.

The Youth Premier touched on a number of topics including the proposal to implement a marine reserve in Bermuda’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the closure of the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre in St. David’s, the availability of trade schools, the justice system and more.

Youth Premier Kennedy Middleton’s full speech follows below:

Mr. Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament,

The issues that are impacting Bermuda no longer stem from just our economy.

Today we are facing issues from all different aspects of our country in addition to the obvious economic challenges, we are facing environmental, educational, and legal challenges. The question Mr. Speaker is, are we going to cower at the sight of the issues we face or are we going to fight against them.

The Youth Parliamentarians that are seated here today have made the decision to go to war with these challenges. As a collective, the members of Youth Parliament assure Bermuda that we will address the issues we are facing head on.

Mr. Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament,

American writer and futurist Alvin Toffler stated, “The secret message communicated to most young people today by the society around them is that they are not needed, that the society will run itself quite nicely until they- at some distant point in the future- will take over the reigns.

Yet the fact is that the society is not running itself nicely…because the rest of us need all the energy, brains, imagination and talent that young people can bring to bear down our difficulties. For society to attempt to solve its desperate problems without the full participation of even very young people is imbecile.”

This quote by futurist Alvin Toffler exhibits a truth that we the young people are not just the future, we are the present. And we shall be heard now, not later. Youth Parliamentarians, sitting in these seats comes with a responsibility.

You must be a voice for Bermuda’s youth and you are responsible for making a difference in our country. Remember, your voice is just as loud as the Parliamentarians who serve our country, if not even louder.

Mr. Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament,

As today is our official opening, I would like to say welcome to the new members whove joined us. Each of these members and existing members have already began to address the issues they feel need to be discussed. Mr. Speaker I would like to begin by introducing the topics we have discussed and debated during Youth Parliament’s session so far.

Our first formal debate was a topic that was brought to us by the Sustainable Development Department of the Bermuda Government. The motion, debated was “This house believes that a marine reserve should be implemented in Bermuda’s Exclusive Economic Zone.”

Mr. Speaker, though both sides had strong arguments, the majority of the members voted against implementing a marine reserve in Bermuda’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Following our debate our respective sides were asked to prepare proposals on the motion.

Mr. Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament,

Many Youth Parliamentarians feel trade schools should be re-introduced as an alternative for the traditional last two years of high school. One radical suggestion put forth was the proposal that The Berkeley Institute become an academic school while Cedarbridge Academy becomes a trade school. This is a topic we do plan to discuss at a later date.

Mr. Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament,

Shocked after reading an article stating that two convicted murderers sentences were reduced, because it was determined that the judges did not have the legal authority within our current laws to impose the sentences they did impose. I decided to bring this topic to my fellow members.

Mr. Speaker a heated debate ensued after mentioning this hot topic. Many members strongly and I mean strongly believed that there should not be any reduction while other members viewed this as an opportunity to enforce alternatives such as community service and manual labour.

Mr. Speaker I must say members where very passionate about this subject, which lead to a very robust and heartfelt debate. Some were adamant that the justice system should be based on rehabilitation and time in prison should be used as effectively as possible to rehabilitate prisoners to assist with their transition back into mainstream society.

Despite the members discussing this topic at great lengths, there was never a consensus conclusion to the topic reached with one member closing the debate saying, “Do the Crime, Do The time….Full time”

In the throne speech on Friday, the Government made a commitment to look at these laws and to amend them to give judges the authority to impose minimum sentences harsher than typical sentences served before the offender becomes eligible for parole as they thought they already had.

Mr. Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament,

Another highly discussed topic in Bermuda right now is the future of the Urgent Care Centre in St. David’s. I also brought this topic to my honourable members, Mr. Speaker I am proud to say we made a unanimous decision; we believe the Urgent Care Centre should not close permanently.

A fellow Youth Parliamentarian offered the alternative of having the emergency care, such as the ambulance available and opening the full centre only when there is no access to the main hospital, during storms and when the cause way is closed, allowing Bermudians who reside in both St. George’s and St. David’s access to care during emergencies.

Mr. Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament,

We have so many issues to address that I can’t possibly fit them all into my speech. However, they are all equally important. No issue will go unaddressed Mr. Speaker. Whether it’s the numerous robberies occurring on our island or the latest discussion on senior care, we Youth Parliament will address them all. This year Youth Parliament aims to:

  • Take an active role in the discussion of what to do with the EEZ with our own proposals
  • Create equality through legislation regarding heterosexuals and homosexuals,
  • Re-introduce the topic of creating trade schools,

In addition we plan to,

  • Discuss the options regarding St. David’s Urgent Care Centre,
  • And address the controversial topic of murderer’s sentences being reduced.

Mr. Speaker, Inventor Thomas Alva Edison states, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” I’m calling on all politicians seated here today heed these words. Our voices are loud but they are not loud enough without your backing. We need you to inspire us, to mold us, and to create Bermuda’s next generation of Parliamentarians.

Youth Parliamentarians, we have dedicated ourselves to be the representatives of Bermuda’s youth and our schools. It’s our responsibility to be the voice of those who feel voiceless. Our peers, our family, adults, they need us to take a stand on the issues that are plaguing Bermuda. And it is our promise Mr. Speaker, to be the face of every Bermudian being effected today.

Mr. Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament,

On behalf of all of my fellow youth parliamentarians, I thank you for coming to this reconvening today. We are committed to being a voice of our generation and look forward to being a voice our current elder Parliamentarians can look toward for meaningful and insightful opinions on current topics facing Bermuda today.

I encourage all to come out and bear witness to the debates in the house to provide encouragement and feedback so Bermuda as a whole can benefit. I now declare the 2013-14 session of Youth Parliament open.

Thank You Mr. Speaker.

-

Share via email

Read More About

Category: All, News, Politics

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Cinderella says:

    Congratulations to the future parliamentarians!
    May I present a sample of what I find missing in the average young adult?
    Perhaps the education system can strengthen each child by teaching these things throughout middle and high school, that would benefit them and their community throughout life:
    how to keep their body and their living spaces clean;
    how to make their own breakfast, lunch & dinner then clean up;
    how to choose and store foods;
    how to budget their time & money on necessary items first;
    how to keep busy by making things with their hands using whatever resources were in the nearby environment;
    how to communicate with others and meet the needs of both;
    how to prevent & fix a plugged drain or toilet;
    how to launder clothes by hand;
    how to play a musical instrument or two;
    how to master sportsmanship;
    how to enjoy entertainment;
    how to develop the spirit in a beneficial way;
    how to relate oneself as an active part of any community;
    how to explore and question the cultures of community members.

    The teenager who can manage him/herself well will then be equipped to manage his/her family and vocation well. In this way, neither the academic nor technical subjects would be considered to be superior or inferior, nor used as a basis for separating the classes of workers/families. Collectively these well prepared young adults would then have the community and its government well managed.

    Like(5)
    Dislike(3)
  2. Aunty says:

    @Cinderella - Over 50% of your missing attributes are those first taught at home.

    Anyhoo - back to what is really important - CONGRATS to the Youth Premier and all Youth Parliamentarians! Your effort to be a part of the solutions Now will forever be a credit to you and our country!

    I am so very proud of all of you and ESPECIALLY my Minn!!!!

    Like(3)
    Dislike(0)