Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): Friday’s (November 25, 2022) Youth Parliament Sitting created history as it marked the first time that the St. Kitts National Youth Parliament Association (SKNYPA) and the National Youth Parliament Association of Antigua and Barbuda (NYPAAB) held a mock National Assembly.
The Joint Youth Parliament Sitting was held in commemoration of St. Kitts’ Youth Month. The members debated and successfully passed the Age of Minority (Amendment) Bill 2022. Two resolutions were also debated and passed. The first was a Resolution by the Joint Youth Assembly of St. Christopher and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda to Commission a Health Investigatory Select Committee, and the second was a Resolution by the Joint Youth Assembly of St. Christopher and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda to Promote Integrity and Efficiency within the Civil Service.
The relationship between the 21-year-old SKNYPA and the three-year-old NYPAAB was formalized earlier this year. NYPAAB President, Kamalie Mannix, welcomed the partnership and touted the experience at today’s joint youth assembly.
“If we had to rate it 1 out of 10, I would say it was 100,” President Mannix stated. “The members on both sides performed absolutely excellently. There was the mastery of Standing Orders, Parliamentary Procedures, that you could see throughout the debate and of course, you had the very high commendations coming from individuals who were in the gallery and to the point where I think even the contributions of the members caused them (policymakers in the gallery) to pause and reflect … I think it was a very positive experience and I think we are setting the stage for [the] future.”
The youth assembly joint sitting was applauded by Governor-General His Excellency Sir S. W. Tapley Seaton who sent a message commending the occasion. The sitting was attended by Members of the Federal Parliament including Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Youth Empowerment, the Honourable Dr. Geoffrey Hanley, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Right Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas, Senator and Junior Minister of Youth Empowerment, the Honourable Isalean Phillip, Opposition MP, the Honourable Shawn Richards, and Speaker of the National Assembly, the Honourable Lanein Blanchette.
SKNYPA’s President Knight noted that the experience exceeded his expectations and he is extremely proud of the collaboration.
“This is our contribution to regional integration. It doesn’t take big things necessarily to show that the Caribbean can work together and that is one of the reasons why I am so proud of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). As eight Small Island Developing States (SIDS) we are doing such great things on a grand stage,” President Knight stated.
At the end of the joint sitting, SKNYPA and NYPAAB signed a Memorandum of Understanding formalizing their collaborative relationship in several areas. One area is an agreement to host a joint youth assembly every year. The organizations are also seeking to establish relations with youth parliament associations in Anguilla, Montserrat and Dominica.