Photos & Video: Youth Parliament Reconvening

November 19, 2015

[Updated with video] The Bermuda Youth Parliament hosted their annual Reconvening of Youth Parliament yesterday [Nov 18], with MPs from both sides of the aisle attending.

The reconvening featured the Youth Throne Speech as well as words from guest speaker Tanaya Tucker, a local lawyer who attended Somerset Primary School and Warwick Academy before completing a Bachelor of Law at the University of Kent and attaining her Legal Practice Course at the College of Law in London.

In her speech, Ms. Tucker offered words of encouragement to the Youth Parliament, saying, “You have the power to be a great influence in the community in and around you. Believe me when I tell you, the passion is already in you, the great voice is already inside of you.

“As you sit in these Chambers this year, debating current affairs of this great country, I challenge you to take some time to reflect. Your voice is what you have to say to the world, your contribution to mankind. Make it count.”


The members of Youth Parliament include Namrata Bisht [Youth Premier], Bathsheba Jones [Youth Deputy Premier], Kimika Jackson [Youth Deputy Speaker of the House], Tyler Trott [Youth Deputy Clerk/ Minister for Tourism and Transport], Theo Wolffe [Youth Sergeant-at-Arms/Minister for Education and Employment], Taye Lamb [Youth Minister of Energy and Environment], Azende Furbert [Youth Minister for Community, Culture and Sports], Vance Wall [Brown [Youth Minister of Justice and Crime Prevention], Taj Outerbridge [Youth Minister for Health and Safety], Ore Bademosi, and Vladimer Focke.

Also included in the Youth Parliament are Destinee Taylor [Youth Opposition Leader / Shadow Minister for Justice and Crime Prevention], Zaji Smith [Youth Deputy Opposition Leader/ Shadow Minister for Community, Culture and Sports], Stefano Ausenda [Youth Shadow Minister for Tourism and Transport], Rakaya Simmons [Youth Historian/Public relations manager & Shadow Minister for Education and Employment], Yasser Baia [Youth Shadow Minister for Energy and Environment], Zante Dill [Youth Shadow Minister for Health and Safety], Chaziah Brown, Tyrese Coakley, Sydney Mason, Zhiyah Wolffe, Zoe Wright, Dejanee Hill – Edwards [Youth Speaker of the House] and Aminah Simmons [Youth Clerk to the Legislature].

Youth Premier Namrata Bisht delivered the Youth Throne Speech, saying that the Government and youth of Bermuda must work in unity to overcome the obstacles which we face.

“I hope throughout this session of Youth Parliament, we can engage in meaningful discussions and debates surrounding mental health, the environment, education and social issues within Bermuda,” said the Youth Premier. You can read the full Youth Throne Speech here.

The full speech from guest speaker Tanaya Tucker follows below:

Madam Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament,

It is with great pleasure that I am able to address you today. I am truly humbled and honored to provide you with an encouraging message as you convene the 2015/2016 session of Youth Parliament. As I pondered over what message to deliver, there was a voice inside of me that kept speaking to me, whispering ‘everyone has a voice- that voice must be heard’. That voice got louder and louder until I could bear it no more. So today, I am here to remind you that you have a voice. I am also here to encourage you, as strongly as I can, to you to use that voice. It is important. It MUST be heard.

Madam Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament,

We often hear that everyone has a voice, but what exactly is your voice? Your voice is what you have to say to the world, your contribution to mankind. Make it count! We see so many celebrities using their voice to highlight issues of importance to them, whether it be with regard to something that we consider to be extremely frivolous, or whether it is about more socially conscious issues such as bullying, racism, the fight against terrorism or awareness of basic human rights. These celebrities have a wide following and thousands of followers who look to them for their position on current affairs. And perhaps, because they are celebrities, it seems that their voices have a significant impact in society, but you have that influential voice too!

You have the power to be a great influence in the community in and around you. Believe me when I tell you, the passion is already in you, the great voice is already inside of you. As you sit in these Chambers this year, debating current affairs of this great country, I challenge you to take some time to reflect. Discover your voice if you haven’t already done so. Ask yourself: what issues am I passionate about that need to be discussed? What events in my community affect my peers or will affect them? How do these tug at my heart? What solutions are there to these issues? What can I do to be a part of the solution? Dig deep and discover what you wish to say to Bermuda; if you are committed and passionate enough- your voice will be heard!

Madam Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament,

I know that we always hear people speak about how the youth already have a voice and we just need to use that voice, but the reality is, often times that voice, our voice, falls by the wayside and our suggestions go unheard. However, I am here to suggest to you that there are many avenues you can use to have your voice heard, to effect change, and to make a difference in society. I would like to highlight one avenue. We live in an age where technology rules just about everything around us. Madam Speaker, if I may, may I use this opportunity as an interactive moment?

Thank you Madam Speaker. How many of us here have a cellphone? Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? SnapChat? It is evident that most of us do. There is your first avenue- Social Media.

Amy Jo Martin once said, ‘social media is the ultimate equalizer. It gives a voice and platform for anyone willing to engage.’ Who is Amy Jo Martin? She is an entrepreneur, author, and speaker, and founder and CEO of Digital Royalty; a woman who has nearly 1.1 million Twitter followers. Ms. Martin travels the world to share with persons the latest trends in social media, how to monetize various social platforms; and how to successfully build a personal brand by utilizing social media. Her clients include: Shaquille O’Neil, Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, just to name a few.

As Ms. Martin said, social media gives a voice and platform for anyone willing to engage. I implore you to use these social networks as a medium to create positive discussion amongst your peers; as a way to get your views heard; as a way to get the relevant feedback/support of your peers with regard to any issues in which you are debating in your Parliamentary Sessions. I would then urge you to return to this Honourable House with those discussion points, and any feedback you have received and be the true voice of your peers.

I strongly believe in reaching people on their level, and in this generation, social media is it. May I share an example with you? I have a friend in school in Toronto who started her own blog, primarily for fashion but she also uses the blog to initiate conversations about relevant topics and further, to share her faith. Now, she posts regularly on various social media outlets and her presence ultimately provided the path for her to recently participate in a Fashion Panel at a university in Toronto. There are other elements to this story that I will share shortly, but you may ask: Why do I share this with you today? I share this example as proof that you never know who you can reach via social media, you never know who is paying attention to your voice! Your voice may not seem important to some but will be heard loud and clear by others, and you never know where your voice can lead you.

Madam Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament,

As I said earlier, there were more details to my example. Whilst participating as a panelist, my friend was led to be bold about her faith and share with the audience that she is a follower of Christ. She told me that after the panel there were so many girls that came up to her expressing their love for God; which started further discussions and networking opportunities. I use that example to express this: be bold and stand firm on what you believe.

My friend could have hidden the fact that she was a Christian to the audience and those later conversations wouldn’t have happened. She could have said that that’s not something she will share with persons based on the multi religious or anti religious majority in Toronto. But she didn’t hide that. She knew her voice was important and she knew she had to stand firm on what she believed. I encourage you too, to stand unwaveringly on what you believe, no matter how big, no matter how small, no matter how much you think that others might not value it. . Your voice is important and if you don’t step out and be bold, you will never know how that one suggestion from you could spark change, and create a shift within this community.

Madam Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament,

As I read the Throne Speech delivered last Friday, I noted a few topics that in my opinion require the voice of the youth to be heard. In no particular order they are: the banning of dark visors, voting in absentia, conscription and the educational initiatives. These changes will directly affect the majority of persons here, and if not, they will definitely affect someone with whom we are connected. Don’t take these areas lightly. Do the research, explore the opinions of your peers, develop a position and perhaps even a solution and then at the appointed time, debate these issues in this Honourable House. I look forward, as others do, to hearing your voice as it raises the issues and identifies possible solutions for them.

Madam Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament,

Finally, I would like to applaud each one of you. You are the pivotal voice of the youth of our country. I admire your willingness to be a part of such a great platform. In high school I would have never dreamed about being part of Youth Parliament, but that was because I did not understand its importance. It was not until 2011 when I was a summer student at the Legislature that I found an appreciation for the legislative process, and for politics in general. Don’t be like me in this regard! I encourage you to appreciate the time that you spend in Youth Parliament now, make the most of it. Even if you don’t see yourself involved in politics in the future, the skills you will learn here will be of great assistance to you as you go through life. You are the future leaders of this great country, so practice using your voice now. As I mentioned earlier, a great voice is already inside of you. All that you need is already within you. Please do not let anyone try to diminish your light- shine bright as a young leader of this country. But stay humble! Do not let anyone, and I mean anyone, try to silence your voice. Be bold! Let that passion within manifest on the outside- use it to make a difference in this community. But! Stay humble!

I look forward to sitting in on some of your sessions and hearing great debates. I am excited for this session year and I am excited for the great things that this Youth Parliament will accomplish.

I would like to leave you with a few quotes as you embark upon your business for this year:

“A loud voice cannot compete with a clear voice, even if it’s a whisper.” ~ Barry Neil Kauffman

“Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out your inner voice.” ~ Steve Jobs.

“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” — John C. Maxwell

Thank you.


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