Young people play a crucial role in shaping the future, according to Senate President Tom Tavares-Finson.
“As we face the challenges and opportunities ahead, it is essential to instill a sense of purpose and direction in them.
“In this Year of the Youth, we recognize the vibrancy, passion, and potential that the younger generation brings with their energy and enthusiasm that will drive us towards a sustainable future as a nation,” he said.
Tavares-Finson spoke at the 14th National Youth Parliament of Jamaica at Gordon House in Kingston. The event carried the theme ‘The Year of Youth: Trending for a Sustainable Future’ and was part of National Youth Month 2023 celebrations, organised by the Ministry of Education and Youth in collaboration with the Houses of Parliament.
Senator Tavares-Finson emphasised that sustainability extends beyond environmental concerns, encompassing economic, social, and cultural aspects.
“It requires balancing progress with responsibility, ensuring the benefits of development are shared equitably and future generations inherit a thriving and resilient world,” he added.
House of Representatives Speaker Juliet Holness highlighted that the theme aligns with the global emphasis on youth empowerment and engagement. Commonwealth Heads of Government declared 2023 as the Year of the Youth.
“I am proud to see the vibrant and conscientious group of young people who have stepped forward as parliamentarians to advocate for Jamaica’s youth,” Holness said.
Youth parliamentarian Shamar Bell discussed financial literacy, suggesting schools should incorporate courses on this topic. Citing data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, he noted approximately 60% of high school graduates lack basic financial literacy.
“I propose updating the curriculum to include practical knowledge of trading, buying stocks, and even cryptocurrency. This way, we align education with modern economy demands and equip our youth to secure their economic future,” he said.
Regarding constitutional reform, Matthue White recommended making the Constitution and related literature available in audio, braille, patois, interactive infographics online, and physical copies at public libraries.
“The CRC (Constitutional Reform Committee) could compile findings from previous town halls, public broadcasts, government submissions, and other crucial committee statements with clear progress deadlines.
These should be published on their website so citizens can actively monitor the committee and hold it accountable,” he said. White also urged the committee to be more engaging and suggested establishing a rural action workforce to mobilise volunteers and community leaders,” White said.
The National Youth Parliament was founded in November 2003 as a non-partisan initiative to give Jamaican youth a platform to express their views, network, and debate issues in the House of Representatives.
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