He called on them to embrace their purpose and fulfil it, during the relaunching ceremony for the Virgin Islands Youth Parliament at the Eileene L. Parsons Auditorium, H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) campus in Paraquita Bay.
“Respect those who have gone on before you, but study them. Study the HL Stoutt, study the RT O’Neal and learn from each one. I want to tell you, you have a voice, this is not just a talk shop, and in your voice you will find your God-given purpose.
Utilise it to bring to light issues that are plaguing our society such as crime, drug trafficking, child abuse, domestic violence, the review of the Virgin Islands Constitution and I encourage you to start giving thought to the territory achieving autonomy,” he said.
“The day will come and as I said before the future is coming [so] it is either you prepare to meet the future or the future will prepare for you,” he added.
Similar sentiments were echoed by Opposition Leader Honourable Marlon A. Penn (R8).
“I’m really proud that we were able to relaunch this Youth Parliament. I think it is very important that we are going through this process now as we are going through very important discussions now on the review and enhancement of our constitution and our relationship with the United Kingdom, that we continue to build institutions that will function as we move forward as a territory, as a nation.”
He continued saying: “I want to encourage you to not be afraid to tackle the very serious internal issues that this country is facing currently. For one reason, no one is going to vote for you, so you don’t have to worry about a vote right now, so say what you have to say and say it plainly.
And secondly, because the country needs to have all voices, all our youths, persons from all walks of life to bring the topics to bare so we as legislators can also listen to the discussions that you bring forward and move forward on a united front on some of the issues.”
He said the Virgin Islands has issues that are affecting our financial services industry, such as Beneficial Ownership and Economic Substance.
“We have issues surrounding gambling and marijuana. We need to ventilate those issues as well, so we can have a heated and honest discussion on those issues, issues about living with COVID-19, how we as a territory is going to live during this COVID-19 period and after COVID-19.
What our economy will look like, how do we diversify our economy, we need to have those ideas come forward, and we require you as young aspiring parliamentarians to debate those issues and bringing those issues to the forefront,” Hon Penn pointed out.
During the ceremony yesterday, Mr Kevin S. Fahie was appointed as the Youth Parliament’s Premier and Minister of Finance and the Eighth District Representative.
Miss BVI, Bria A. Smith, was appointed as the Deputy Premier and Minister for Health and Social Development, while Mr Kevon S. Lettsome was assigned to the Opposition Leader’s post.
Ms Angelique Lettsome is the Speaker, and Ms Kerrell Wilson is the Deputy Speaker and Member for the Sixth District.
In addition to those posts, there were other ministers and junior ministers, the clerk and the deputy clerk, the sergeant of arms and research persons.
The group will consist of 25 young people who will act in their roles for the remaining of this House of Assembly and will mirror the HOA and will also have their chance to have an official sitting.