We must ask ourselves, what can we do for our community and how can we impact the environment around us, and the theme we must abide by is “community first,” Youth Opposition Leader Destinee Taylor said in the Youth Reply to the Throne.
In delivering the Youth Reply, Ms Taylor said, “ Mandela said it best: education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world. The Bermuda education system has been crying out for reform for much too long.
“Before we can talk about implementing a bachelors degree programme at Bermuda College, which is definitely needed, we must first talk about the public school system which needs attention and altering. I can say this because I am a product of this system.”
The full Youth Reply to the Throne is below:
’Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others’? – MLK .
Youth Parliamentarians, we are the products of our environment, therefore we must ask ourselves, what can we do for our community? How can we impact the environment around us? The theme we must abide by for this years session is ‘Community First.’
Madame Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament, there are many things that we can talk about which are tarnishing our beloved community, but Youth Parliamentarians, we can not just sit here and talk about these problems, we must take action and help implement legislation in which we have the power to do so.
Look around us: we have the resources, we literally meet in these honourable chambers, and have the contact of a local MP or Senator a phone call away. So this year, it is essential that we do not let the opportunity of making a difference pass us by.
Madame Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament, Mandela said it best: education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world. The Bermuda education system has been crying out for reform for much too long.
Before we can talk about implementing a bachelors degree programme at Bermuda College, which is definitely needed, we must first talk about the public school system which needs attention and altering. I can say this because I am a product of this system.
Firstly Bermuda must decide if we want to have a British curriculum, an American curriculum, or even a Caribbean curriculum. Presently, we seem to have a mixture of the two, both American and a dash of British.
In the public high school – every student, not just some, should be afforded the opportunity to take more than three A Level exams, which would get students into some of the top universities in England, without them being required to take a foundation year. Education reform in Bermuda must take place. It is also essential that Bermuda’s fundamental social history be taught in depth and in detail in our public schools.
Madame Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament, in Bermuda we are plagued with gang violence and the gang lifestyle taking the lives of our young men here in Bermuda. We the youth probably go to school with or know some of the children/descendants of these fathers who have fallen victim to gang fatalities.
In addition to the GREAT programme, which is already facilitated on the middle school level, we challenge the Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of Education to implement mandatory grief counselling for the children of the victims. We would also love for them to join our Youth Parliament family; therefore, they can use their passion and frustration in a positive manner.
Madame Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament, mentally ill citizens and disabled citizens are members of this society who often get overlooked. Although two separate things and one is not to be compared to the other, we are pleased to see the Government taking steps and making progress in regards to the Mental Health Act.
I have had the privilege to sit in on a Mental Health Court Session here in Bermuda and also had the privilege to work with a lawyer who specializes in mentally ill clients. Mental illness can affect both the young and the old and it is an illness that should not be taken lightly.
Madame Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament, we want to make it clear, not all Youth Parliament members support or are in favour of same sex marriage.
A large and growing body of scientific evidence indicated that the intact married family is best for children. Sarah McLanahan, a sociologist at Princeton University, states the fact that when both parents, a mother and a father, have a biological connection to the child, it would increase the likelihood that the parents have a connection with the child and be willing to sacrifice for that child, and it would reduce the likelihood that either parent would abuse the child.
Homosexual couples using in vitro fertilization [IVF] or surrogate mothers deliberately create a class of children who will live apart from their mother or father. Yale Child Study Centre psychiatrist Kyle Pruett reports that children of IVF often ask their lesbian mothers about their fathers, asking their mothers questions like, “Mommy, what did you do with my daddy?” “Can I write him a letter?” “Has he ever seen me?” “Didn’t he like me?”
Children need both their mothers and their fathers. In addition, same sex marriage would further isolate marriage from its procreative purpose.
Madame Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament, it is our aim that we strive towards the formation of a National Youth Town Hall which will take place twice a year. This will include the membership of youth ranging from ages 16 – 28 where we can gather and talk freely about political issues affecting us.
We can look at the National Youth Town Hall which Jamaica held this summer for example, where they had President Barack Obama as a guest speaker who advised them on Youth Leadership and the involvement of youth in politics. Executive officers of this National Youth Town Hall Committee could be liaisons with the government and this may be a paid position which will assist with youth unemployment.
In conclusion Madame Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament, we are looking forward to debates in the near future on independence, the aging population, the consolidation of schools, and whether or not pit bulls should be legal.
Additionally, we are looking forward to creating a Youth Parliament Alumni Committee and look forward to hosting our first Youth Parliament reunion some time next year. I am humbled to serve as Youth Opposition Leader for this year.
Madame Speaker, thank you.