JIS: The National Youth Parliament of Jamaica (NYPJ) reconvened yesterday (November 14) with more than 70 young people debating issues that impact their development.
The youngsters, drawn from various areas of national life, made contributions on youth unemployment, climate change and the psychosocial care of students in schools.
They advocated for the creation of policies to enable more well-trained and skilled persons with disabilities to gain employment; for greater use of technology and innovation to create jobs; deepening involvement of women in agriculture to improve their position in society; and the use of technology to better promote the image of agriculture.
Other matters included establishment of a climate-change council to aid in raising awareness about the issue; and putting systems in place to prevent students from lapsing into deviant behaviour, especially at the secondary-school level.
In addressing the Youth Parliament, Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator, the Hon. Ruel Reid, said the sitting is intended to introduce the participants to the legislative process and the tenets of good governance. Mr. Reid urged them to use the lessons learnt to advance Jamaica.
“This experience must not be a one-off experience. It must be a call to action that you will be inspired… to ask not what your country can do for us, but what we can do for our country, if we want Jamaica to be great,” he said.
State Minister in the Ministry, Hon. Floyd Green, told the young people that they were not only representing their own views but those of their peers, and they should be proud of the opportunity.
Mr. Green also expressed elation at the reconvening of the Youth Parliament.
He said he expected the members to advance solutions for the betterment of youth throughout Jamaica.
“This is a call to action. Whatever cause you are championing, I want you to effect real change. We’re giving you the platform to create a new Jamaica,” he said.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House, Hon. Pearnel Charles, urged the young parliamentarians to take their role seriously.
He said they must become advocates to ensure the holistic development and growth of Jamaica.
Started in November 2003, the NYPJ is a non-partisan initiative aimed at providing youths from across Jamaica with a forum to express their views, network and debate issues of concern in the House of Representatives. The most recent sitting of the NYPJ was in 2009.
This year’s sitting is in keeping with the Youth Month theme ‘E=MC 2 : Energising Youth”.
CAPTION: Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid (right) makes an address to the National Youth Parliament, held at Gordon House in Kingston on November 14.