The elected parliament-arians and appointed senators have had their opportunity and now it was time for a leaner and more exuberant set to make their honorary sitting. On June 25 and 26, the focus shifted onto the youth representatives of parliament to present their legislation.
In times past, the younger replicas of the house have set a significant standard in terms of protocol and procedures, leaving some to suggest that the actual members of government emulate their deportment. This proposition would definitely be applicable this year, with the accusations, threats and name-calling that have been tossed around the House by the present government and opposition.
The same cannot be said for this year’s youth proceedings, as the level of discipline which had been previously portrayed had seemingly decreased. The tables appeared to have certainly turned, as the future leaders exhibited some of the questionable qualities portrayed by the members of government. So was this a case of art imitating life?
The usual punctual commencement of proceedings was missing this year, as the ‘honorable’ members walked into the house past the 9am starting time, despite the fact that the inspection of the guard which serves as the prelude, did not materialize.
That aside, upon assembling for the anticipated debate, the first address of the day was the Throne Speech, delivered by Governor General ‘Dame’ Kayla Henry. Henry, who was as articulate and graceful as the presiding GG, called for all citizens to come together to ensure a prosperous Saint Lucia. With issues such as our current fiscal deficit, our rise in crime and the state of our education system, she echoed thorough and strategic examinations of our structures as the way forward for us as a people.
The lack of preparation and order continued to be a theme of the proceedings. With the GG’s address out of the way, attention was now turned to the speaker and members of the house. The speaker, who heads the house and is responsible for keeping order, was also off key. Usually donned in dark colors, this year’s boss was dressed in pink and white. Rather odd I thought.
So why this uncharacteristic departure from the norm this year?
Speaking to a couple of people associated with the National Youth Council, the common sentiment is that the overall execution and deliverance of Youth Parliament was compromised by issues relating to government, specifically this year’s budget presentation, and not the fault of the youth parliamentarians. Maybe there is hope after all for our youth, and that the issues that they are faced with are as a result of poor decision making by their predecessors.