Thu | Jan 17, 2019

PNPYO issues invite for NIDS debate, Young Jamaica declines

Published:Monday | May 28, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer
Howard Chamberlain
Krystal Tomlinson

President of the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Young Jamaica, Howard Chamberlain, yesterday declined an invitation from the People's National Party Youth Organisation (PNPYO) to a public debate on the National Identification System (NIDS) legislation, questioning: "To what end?"

Issuing the invitation last Thursday, PNPYO President Krystal Tomlinson argued that several dilemmas challenge our democracy, not least of which is the lack of clarity and the overwhelmingness of political banter that demobilises youth who may otherwise be convinced to participate.

Tomlinson further argued that the PNPYO seeks to create a space where the scope, nature, impact and costs of such a salient bill can be discussed in reasoned, respectful and critically sound fashion.

"If we are truly committed to increasing youth participation, we must throw ourselves wholeheartedly into activities that inform, educate and empower young people," she said.

Tomlinson stated that her organisation is open to the motion for the debate being appropriately crafted and the proceedings managed by the Jamaica Association for Debating and Empowerment, "which is staffed by a team of esteemed and non-partisan world debaters and adjudicators," reasoned Tomlinson, adding that the debate would include questions and suggestions from a youth audience to ensure an inclusive conversation.

But according to Chamberlain, a debate on the controversial bill is not currently on the agenda .

"There's no issue in debating the PNPYO on issues of national importance because that's what youth arms are really there for, but as it relates to the NIDS bill, I don't know to what end," responded Chamberlain.

"The bill has been passed. The bill is the subject of a court proceeding right now and we'd love to see at least the results of the court proceedings before we move further, so, any other issue, sure, but just not on NIDS right now," he concluded.