By Gary Hatigeva
YOUTH Participants of the 4th Youth Parliament 2018 have been urged to get involved in providing answers to issues Solomon Islands is facing.
This was something that all who spoke at the official opening of the youth parliament programme stressed with certainty that for the country to know what is happening to the young people with unemployment, with the lack of education and with crime, people only need to speak to youths because they have the answers.
Speaker of the National Parliament, Ajilon Jasper Nasiu in his speech, highlighted that youths are the experts in their division, and this is an opportunity to be solutions, to be answers and to effect the positive change that this country has come to depend on.
Speaking on the history of the Youth Parliament, Nasiu pointed out that the initiative has only come through a short history, but already created so many success stories, with some former participants now studying politics at the higher levels, while others are contributing to their communities in different ways.
“It provides participants with a practical and educational experience of our parliamentary system in an enjoyable and innovative manner.
“By providing a forum in which youths can express their ideas, concerns and expectations, it develops confidence, encourages team work and promotes a broader awareness among young people of community issues and processes of government of which these issues can be addressed,” Mr Nasiu shared.
He stressed that the 4th national youth parliament will define the future for some of the youth participants and determine their interests to take part in political leadership.
“For others, this will be a learning experience, to be more effective citizens in different field of work and community services,” the Speaker added.
The Speaker was among legislators and heads of international agencies, including the Australian High Commissioner, welcoming Youth Parliament participants to the chambers of the Parliament on yesterday at the 4th Youth Parliament.
The Head of Legislature told young participants that it is important they are exposed to the workings of democracy and the fundamentals of the nation are known.
Other speakers also stressed that the people are now looking to youths to assist the country in bringing it back to the place where it ought to be.
This is a call the UNDP Country Manager, Ms Asuza Kubota had also echoed, when presenting her remarks in the official opening of the 4th Youth Parliament, where she thought people have the potentials to shape the policies and debates on issues affecting young people.
She also agreed with the sentiments on empowerment for young people and further urged for youths not to be spectators, but get engaged and do what they can to make a difference.
“We all want the same thing this is not the time to have divide, talk about our territories and responsibilities, but have to work together irrespective of where you come from or where you work. We all want a dignified prosperous life in a just and peaceful world,” the UNDP Country Manager stressed.
Also speaking in support of the call on youths, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Women, Youths, Children and Family Affairs, Mr Cedrick Alependava expressed that young people are the jewels for this nation.
“We know that you young people hold the key to our future and you are definitely leaders for tomorrow,” Alependava shared.
He said he was happy to see that the country’s future was bright and invited the next generation of leaders to participate and not sit idly by and allow “bad” apples to detract and discourage them from what is best for them and the country.
“You must make your voices be heard, and your voices must come into this house, either through the responsible parliamentarian that you will elect, or one of you must come in, so that your voice is amplified to make it louder,” the PS added.
He then reminded the 50 youth parliamentarians to learn as much as they can, be innovative and think big so to make a difference as potential future leaders of the country.
The purpose of Youth Parliament is to expose Solomon Islands young people to parliamentary procedures and current issues affecting them.
Young people are selected and trained to make presentations in the Chamber of Parliament during a debate session, which is set for Thursday, where they are expected to talk about issues affecting youths of this country, under the guide of this year’s theme, “Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Livelihoods, Leave no one behind”.
The event is organised by the National Parliament of Solomon Islands together with the Ministry of Women, Youths, Children and Family Affairs, through supports of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Australian High Commission and Oxfam in Honiara.