Voices of youth parliamentarians (Pt I)
embers of the National Youth Parliament of Jamaica (NYPJ) on Monday made wide-ranging presentations in Gordon House on several issues of national interest.
The following are excerpts from their contributions, starting with the issue of national security.
Shaqkeera Douglas, prime minister
"Mr Speaker, I submit that the Corrections Act of 2004 be amended to state specific activities that must be carried out in the rehabilitating of juveniles. We need to legislate a juvenile-rehabilitation programme. This programme should cater to the holistic rehabilitation of the child, teaching them the value of work and addressing their mental state with therapy sessions. Here is also a perfect opportunity to create a niche for child psychologists. Secondly, Mr Speaker, let us look at the country of Albania. In cases of minor offences, specially trained officers conduct mediation sessions with the juvenile. Mr Speaker, I submit that the same police officers who patrol our streets in search of hardened criminals cannot be the same officers that detain our juveniles."
LaTresha Hall, minister of labour and social security
"We need to take a psychological approach towards addressing violent behaviour in children. The Youth Parliament submits a mandatory mental-health screening conducted as a part of the medical examination that students are required to take at all levels of education. Mental-health screening is the quickest and easiest way to determine whether a person is experiencing symptoms of a mental-health condition. This may be able to save a life."
Neville Charlton, minister of national security
"Mr Speaker, we recommend that a mandatory education curriculum be drafted and specifically implemented focusing on human rights as it relates to peace building at both the primary and secondary levels. Mr Speaker, we, the members of Youth Parliament, urge that this Government not just publicise, but prioritise and allocate funding for long-term initiatives that focus on youth involvement in peace building."