More than 20 young Virgin Islanders between the ages of 18 and 35 yesterday took Oath of Affirmations as they officially became members of the Virgin Islands Youth Parliament.
The young parliamentarians hail from various communities across the BVI and represent various churches, schools and youth groups, non-governmental organizations as well as the public and private sector.
The Youth Parliament will mirror the House of Assembly with 15 members holding assigned portfolios and others assigned administrative and research functions that are critical to the work of the Youth Parliament.
“It’s important to note that the Virgin Islands
Youth Parliament will run for the remaining life of the Fourth House of Assembly. When the House of Assembly is dissolved, this parliament will come to an end then the Fiftth House of Assembly will also continue with new members,” said Julian Willock, Speaker of the House of Assembly.
Before the launch of the Youth Parliament, training workshops were on areas such as public speaking, the constitution, proper dress code, the way the House Of Assembly works, among other areas.
Premier Andrew Fahie
who was present at the launch urged the young leaders to be confident and fearless in attacking issues that affect the BVI. He said the revival of the Youth Parliament shows that his government is serious about preparing youth to fill top political positions in the BVI.
“It is no secret that one of my passions as Premier, is that Virgin-islanders must have the highest level of control in charting the course of our country. We must develop and lead the vision for our country.
He continued: How this territory will look in the future will be determined by the hands that are moulding it through its institutions and offices and those hands must be Virgin-islanders. Otherwise the outcome will be something that has no semblance of the essence, heritage or identity of the Virgin-islander,” Premier Fahie
The Youth Parliament is expected to have one sitting per year to discuss a topic chosen by the management committee that handles its affairs.
House Speaker Julian Willock who is also the chairman of the Youth Parliament said they are hoping to host the sitting of the Youth Parliament this year, one the management committee is satisfied that the young leaders are prepared for the debate.