Fri | Jan 18, 2019

Youth Parliamentarians call for two term limit, mandatory retirement age

Published:Tuesday | November 13, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer
Members of the National Youth Parliament of Jamaica (NYPJ) making their way into Gordon House, Kingston, yesterday for the ninth sitting of the NYPJ.

Members of the National Youth Parliament of Jamaica (NYPJ) have argued strongly that a system of a two-term limit for prime ministers should be implemented, while the mandatory retirement age of members of parliament and senators should be set at 75 years old.

The youth parliamentarians also used the occasion of the ninth sitting of the NYPJ at Gordon House in Kingston yesterday to outline a raft of proposed changes to the electoral system, among them fixed election dates, merging the local and national polls, and intensifying the use of technology in the execution of elections.

The witty, fresh-faced millennials, all of whom delivered their submissions with verve and conviction in a sitting lasting about three hours, contended that reformation of the electoral processes, if executed within a legal framework that supports accountability and transparency, will increase voter turnout and participation of young people in the electoral process.

In his submission, youth parliamentarian Dominic Blair stated that the Constitution notes the age by which judges and other civil servants must retire, but it doesn't speak to candidates in political office.

"Mr Speaker, if we address this problem, we can be in a better state to govern our nation's business through the inclusion of global trend, as there are generational changes. Mr Speaker, if we limit the term of service of our political representatives, we can ensure than new candidates who are trained and prepared for service can also serve," he argued.

 

REDUCING FINANCIAL STRAIN ON COUNTRY

 

The youngsters further argued that fixing the election dates would allow for effective preparation for the processes, while merging the local and national elections would serve to reduce the financial strain on the country.

They contended that digitising the electoral process would reduce voter apathy and increase participation through convenience, accessibility, and identification.

The youngsters also made submissions regarding national security and information communication technology and its potential for economic growth and job creation.

The National Youth Parliament was established in November 2003 as a non-partisan initiative aimed at providing youth from across Jamaica with a forum to express their views, network, and debate issues of concern in the House of Representatives.

The youth parliament is hosted as part of the activities for National Youth Month in Jamaica.

syranno.baines@gleanerjm.com