Carla Brown-Roker, Youth Coordinator, Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture said that five outstanding young Grand Bahamians will represent the island today (Friday, October 28) at Youth In Parliament.
She noted that for the past seven years the Ministry has embarked upon an exercise entitled, ‘Youth in Parliament’ affording the future leaders of the nation a taste of what it will truly entail, should they become leaders of the country in the not too distant future.
The platform allows the participants the opportunity to debate pertinent and timely issues in the same fashion as the nation’s leaders do in the House of Assembly.
According to Brown-Roker, “Since May 1999, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture has been holding the National Youth Parliament as a part of the Youth Month festivities, this year is no exception. Under the theme, ‘Action for Youth, By Youth’ we are pleased to present Youth Parliament 2016, consisting of 38 youth Members of Parliament (MP) that will be discussing and debating two key issues – The use and misuse of Social Media and Justice for Juveniles.
“Grand Bahama consists of five constituencies and there are five young persons that have been selected to represent our island – for West Grand Bahama, Trevor Johnson; Central Grand Bahama, Oquille Forbes; Pineridge, Gabriel Josephs; Marco City, Tyler Smith and East Grand Bahama, DaQuan Swain.
“Our training began yesterday (Tuesday, October 25) and at that time Youth Parliamentarians were addressed by Nicky Bethel, Director of Communications at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. They were facilitated in the area of speech craft and debate techniques.
“At the end of that session, Trevor Johnson, Youth MP for West Grand Bahama was selected Speaker of Youth Parliament 2016.”
Swain, 21, Youth MP for East Grand Bahama shared his thoughts on being selected to participate in this year’s exercise.
“It is an honor for me to represent the people of East Grand Bahama. I have been given the opportunity to speak to the nation, to let them know that we (the youth) have ideas, and thoughts.
“This gives us the opportunity to express ourselves. We have resolutions and ideas; giving us this opportunity to express them, at such a large volume, live on national television and radio, where the entire Bahamas will be able to hear and see us, it is truly an honor.”
He shared that having the chance to offer recommendations on pertinent issues that relate to the country and the future of the nation, is one that he does not take for granted.
“We do not want to come together and simply elaborate on the problems, everyone already knows what problems exist. The important thing is for us to come together and come up with recommendations and solutions to these problems,” Swain added. “It is such an honor to be able to represent and be the voice of the young people on our island.”
Forbes, youth MP for Central Grand Bahama also shared his thoughts on being a part of the event.
“I have been interested in the Youth Parliament Program for the past two years. I applied last year, was selected, but was unable to attend. I applied again this year, where we were expected to complete two short essays – one on why we should be selected, and the other on something interesting about ourselves; along with a list of our achievements and community activities we are a part of.
“Thank God, I was given the opportunity again, this year, to represent the youth of my community.”
With respect to the topics for this year’s debate he commented, “The topics are timely. With social media, we are in a time where youth would do anything for popularity on social media sites, and the negative activities outweigh the positive.
“My aim is to educate the youth and The Bahamas, in general, on the many possibilities if we use social media to our benefits.”
As for topic, ‘Justice for Juveniles,’ this topic hits home for Forbes. “I reside in the community of Eight Mile Rock and my inspiration for becoming a good role model came from the lack of positive role models in my community. When I present this topic, I would like to, from my community’s view,” acknowledged Forbes.
Questioned what he wishes to gain from his Youth Parliament experience Forbes answered, “Self improvement for me is important … that is the first thing that I seek to gain; self-improvement in public speaking and lessons that I can apply to my daily life that we learnt in our training seminar.
“Also, lasting relationships with some of the brightest youth around the country. I believe what I gain this week will also be beneficial to the youth in my community; I plan to share as much as I can with them,” added Forbes.
A graduate of Eight Mile Rock High School, the youth MP for Central Grand Bahama shared that he is enrolled at the College of The Bahamas; however, he has taken a semester off from continuing his tertiary education but intends to return in January 2017 and obtain a Bachelors degree in Secondary Education.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in the 2016 Youth Parliament, being able to discuss and find solutions to affairs of the country with some of the most intelligent young people. I was able to learn and share so much with the majority of them. Hopefully, even after this week is completed we will continue to connect our communities, to achieve the goals we set out to,” concluded Forbes.
Published Friday, October 28, 2016