Photos & Video: Convening Of Youth Parliament

November 20, 2014

[Updated with video] “We believe that the youth of Bermuda should not go unheard and that it is up to us to take a stand and attempt to propose possible solutions,” Youth Premier Dejanee Hill-Edwards said during yesterday’s [Nov 19] Youth Parliament Throne Speech.

Youth Pariament Opening Bermuda, November 19 2014-14

“As Youth Parliament, it is crucial that we maintain the means of being an outlet through which young people can voice their opinions on current and relevant issues affecting us. A countries greatest asset is its people,” added the Youth Premier.

“The younger generation is by far the more innovative generation. With the ideas and opinions that can be generated, a tidal wave of endless possibilities can be sparked. Youth voices are crucial to the overall effectiveness of the society.”

Youth Pariament Opening Bermuda, November 19 2014-35

Former Youth Parliamentarian Deshay Caines, the invited guest speaker, said: “Youth Parliament is a training ground for Bermuda’s young people to learn the inner machinery of their country, to learn how to be servant leaders and learn to serve their community. There is no better training ground to learning the engine room of policy, of politics, of leadership, of service to give to a country who has given so much to us.

“Today you represent your schools Cedarbridge, Berkeley, Bermuda Institute, Saltus, BHS, Warwick Academy, and MSA. You are the talented tenth the young ladies and young men that will be the next generation of leaders in Bermuda.”

Youth Pariament Opening Bermuda, November 19 2014-12

The Youth Government, which is non-partisan, consists of Youth Premier Dejanee Hill-Edwards, Deputy Youth Premier Kimika Jackson, Youth Opposition Leader Nicholas Pell, Deputy Opposition Leader Aleisha Hollis, Speaker of the House Shamar Morris, Deputy Speaker of the House Kyle Eve-Townsend, Clerk to the Legislature Shan Burrows, Deputy Clerk to the Legislature Saji Smith, Sergeant-at-Arms Shaynon Seymour, Jonari Smith, Steafano Ausenda, Theo Wolffe, Destinee J. Taylor, Aminah Simmons, Tae-Eja Bean, Donnikae Baker, Tess Spencer, William Oestreich, Yndia Raynor, Aldon Campbell, Namrata Bisht, Sara Vallis, Imani Byron and Rakaya Simmons.

42-minute video of the ceremony:

Those in attendance included Premier Michael Dunkley, Minister Shawn Crockwell, Minister Patricia Gordon Pamplin, Minister Wayne Scott, MP Nandi Outerbridge, Shadow Tourism Minister Zane Desilva, Shadow Finance Minister David Burt and Senior Magistrate Juan Wolffe.

The full Throne Speech by Youth Premier Dejanee Hill-Edwards follows below:

Mr. Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament,

It is no secret that in today’s society, we as Bermuda face prevalent violence and crime as well as a struggling economy. However, we must not forget the less pressing issues that still push an impactful force against us. As the young people of this country, we have no choice but to deal with these social dilemmas on a daily basis. It is from this that Youth Parliament plants its base. We believe that the youth of Bermuda should not go unheard and that it is up to us to take a stand and attempt to propose possible solutions to these rampant issues.

The question is often asked: “Do young people matter?” It is very rare to hear the opinions expressed by young people and when they are, they are pushed aside and boxed away. As Youth Parliament, it is crucial that we maintain the means of being an outlet through which young people can voice their opinions on current and relevant issues affecting us. A countries greatest asset is its people. The younger generation is by far the more innovative generation. With the ideas and opinions that can be generated, a tidal wave of endless possibilities can be sparked. Youth voices are crucial to the overall effectiveness of the society. Without it, who will be there to promote change?

Mr. Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament,

After attending the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s 10th Annual Regional Youth Parliament Debate in August of this year and speaking with some of the other participants on how Youth Parliament is structured in their country, I noticed that were certain aspects that can be incorporated into Youth Parliament Bermuda. One of these aspects includes the reinstating of Ministries. The Ministries for this year will mirror the Ministries of the real government. In doing this, we are strengthening the ties between the real cabinet and its members with the Youth Parliamentarians of this cabinet. Moreover, proposals will also be reinstated. Proposals will be written up after each debate by the corresponding Minister of that topic. In addition, Youth Parliament will collectively take a stand on the debated topic, and will present it to the corresponding Minister in the real cabinet.

To make certain that the voices of the young people are heard, Youth Parliament Bermuda has elected a Public Relations officer who is responsible for contacting the local newspaper for potential spreads in the Youth News column, news blogs, and also creating general awareness about the productive and relevant debates, discussions and possible solutions occurring within the doors of this Cabinet. In addition to these roles, the Public Relations officer will also form a committee who will devise a strategic plan on consultations via schools as a tactic to better serve as a representative of the youth of Bermuda. Out of this, possible debate topics can be formed as well as recruitments to serve as Youth Parliamentarians.

Youth Parliament Bermuda has been meeting since September in order to identify, discuss and propose solutions for current issues in society. It is with great pleasure that we have received new members and are keen on promoting Youth Parliament to expand our population.

Mr. Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament,

During this session, Youth Parliament will have a variety of discussions and debates, both formal and informal. In conjunction with every debate, we will also hold sessions in which a guest is invited to speak on motions presented by the members. Some of the topics brought about by my honourable members that have been discussed thus far consist of the death penalty, Hurricane Gonzalo and the lack of preparation thereof, teachers having the right to be armed in schools, students being given the opportunity to become full-time students at the tertiary level while still enrolled in high school, lowering the voting age, and raising the legal age to consume alcohol from 18 to 21.

Another topic we feel has a significant impact on the youth is the topic of law enforcement being adequately equipped to deal with the increase in gun violence. Due to the recent gun violence experienced over the holiday, this has become a widely discussed topic. Youth Parliament intends on further exploring the topic and discover practical solutions in order to fix this detrimental stunt on society’s growth.

More pertinent topics that Youth Parliament plans to debate for the 2014-2015 Session will include, but are not limited to, the privatization of government ministries, prevention mechanisms for the increase in sexually transmitted diseases amongst teenagers, and the decriminalization of marijuana.

Youth Parliament has scheduled a series of formal debates throughout the year. Our first formal debate is scheduled to take place on the 3rd of December 2014. The proposed motion for this debate is: This house believes that with the increase of technology and social media, the school administrators should implement a policy banning all interactions between students and teachers via social media and personal email accounts. This motion was brought forth by Government, who is evidently on the affirmative side of this motion. A rigorous and robust debate is anticipated as members have shown passion towards the given topic.

Mr. Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament,

Youth Parliament isn’t confined to the walls of this Cabinet. We also strive to be young ambassadors within our community. This year, Youth Parliament will also host our annual Commonwealth Day Conference with partners XL as a way to educate high school students from around the island about Commonwealth Day and its significance. Moreover, Youth Parliament is also grooming global citizens. Hopefully, we will be sending two representatives to participate the Commonwealth Day Observance in London in March of next year as well as the CPA’s regional debate in the upcoming summer. Paging is another way in which members of Youth Parliament have the opportunity to become involved. It is expected that during the annual budget debates, members can sign up to volunteer to assist the Sergeant-at-Arms. This provides an opportunity for Youth Parliamentarians to receive a first-hand experience on what it is like while the House is in session.

Mr. Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament,

As young people, we have the tools and opportunities to bring about change more than ever. We must remain optimistic and continue to not only hope for big changes, but to take action. Rather than being reactive, we must commit ourselves to be pro-active. During the 2014-2015 Session, Youth Parliament is committed to tackling the concerning issues that lurk amongst society which affect the youth directly and indirectly, and generate solutions to these problems. In conclusion, as Youth Parliamentarians, we are tomorrow’s leaders solving the issues of today.

The Youth of Today.
Not only the Leaders of Tomorrow.
They are The Leaders of Today.

Mr. Speaker and Members of Youth Parliament,

On behalf of my fellow Youth Parliamentarians, we would like to thank you for listening to the future endeavours of Youth Parliament Bermuda, and for your support. It is truly a privilege to sit within the honourable chambers week after week. We thank you for allowing us this opportunity. We as young people cannot do this alone. Many of my honourable members have expressed a desire to communicate or shadow MPs and Senators; both Youth Parliamentarians and honourable guests should take this into consideration. Life-long relationships can be forged through the networking of Youth Parliament. Furthermore, I encourage the Members of Parliament here today to stop by and witness some of the thought provoking and passionate discussions that take place during our weekly sessions and act as a voice of encouragement.

With this being said, I hereby declare that The Youth Parliament of Bermuda is officially open.
Mr. Speaker, thank you.


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Comments (3)

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  1. Paulo Correia says:

    Senior Parliamentarians,

    Please support these young folks by accepting their invitation and attending their Youth Parliament sessions. I have only one suggestion: listen to them.

    Youth Parliamentarians,

    Being engaged matters. Some say talk is cheap, but many of those folks won’t even engage in civil discourse. I applaud all of you, and wish you the best going forward. You are a wonderful example of something all Bermudians can be proud of.


    Paulo Correia
    Youth Parliament, Warwick Academy, ~1986

  2. Time for a new change says:

    We should hand the Government over to the Youth Parliament and pay them $50,000 each. Maybe more things will get done to help the youth and people of Bermuda.

  3. Huh says:

    Sorry, in my humble opinion,Mr. Zane DeSilva’s choice of atire shows a complete lack of respect for the Youth Parliament.