Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 25, 2022 (SKNIS): Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Youth Empowerment, the Honourable Dr. Geoffrey Hanley has expressed his pleasure with St. Kitts and Antigua and Barbuda Youth Parliamentarians’ exceptional level of debate in the Federal Parliament in St. Kitts on November 25, 2022.
An eight-person contingent from the National Youth Parliament Association of Antigua and Barbuda (NYPAAB) participated in the Inaugural Sitting of a Joint Youth Assembly with the St. Kitts National Youth Parliament Association (SKNYPA). This event forms part of the Youth Month Activities organized by the St. Kitts Department of Youth Empowerment.
“I am very pleased this morning to be sitting in Parliament listening to the level of debates that has been going on thus far and it is even more touching when you recognize that there is an integration of another country participating in today’s debate. It is in fact heartwarming because as you listened to the Youth Parliamentarians you recognized that although we are a different country the problems are almost similar,” said the Youth Empowerment Minister. “We had some beautiful, well-articulated presentations capturing the health system, similar to situations in St. Kitts and Nevis. What was very clear coming forward from the debaters is the need for the countries to really invest a little more in the health system using the technology.”
During the sitting, three legislative items were tabled and passed. These are The Age of Majority (Amendment) Bill, 2022; a Resolution to Commission a Health Investigatory Select Committee, as well as a Resolution to Promote Integrity and Efficiency within the Civil Service.
“I am happy that the young people were in a position to jumpstart what will eventually become a national debate and the possibility of a Bill. I am looking forward to hearing about the Integrity in Public Life Bill or the Resolutions that they are going to bring because I have the same conviction that some of the things that we have been discussing among ourselves in Cabinet as a government, would be articulated by our young people which would make it even easier,” said Dr. Hanley. “When it comes to the selling of the Bill it will be a case where the young people have already indicated these are some of the things that they would wish to see happening and it is just an endorsement from our level.”
Minister Dr. Hanley said that SKNYPA has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 20-plus years.
“It goes without saying how immensely proud I am that the Association would have taken off in the direction that they have for the past 21 years. Never in my wildest dream had I thought that we would have been where we are today because in 1998 when I first gave young people the opportunity to debate in Parliament, I never thought that it would have developed into an organization that is well-known around the Caribbean. In fact, we have been the model of Youth Parliaments.”
Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Hanley said that initiatives such as Youth Parliament provide the government with a “golden opportunity to feed off of the young minds.”