Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Shamfa Cudjoe is encouraging young people to become more involved in local politics.
Cudjoe, along with Senator Nigel de Freitas and Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) secretary-general Akbar Khan, spoke to students and members of youth government yesterday at the CPA’s Road Show at City Hall, Port of Spain.
Cudjoe said that though she felt inexperienced when she became the youngest MP in 2010, she has learned that Parliament is not only for seasoned debaters.
“Parliament is not old people business. We want more youths in Parliament. With technology and the Parliament Channel, you have no excuse to not know what’s going on,” she said. She encouraged the students present to get involved in debates and local arms of youth government.
“Though there are certain cracks in the system that make me feel sometimes like Parliament is old people work, we are growing and learning as a modern Parliament,” she added, whilst explaining her roles.
“As the MP for Tobago West, my first responsibility is to my constituency and constituents. My second responsibility is to the Parliament, then the party I belong to, then my ministry.”
De Freitas commended the CPA on its “fruitful relationship” with the Commonwealth members of the Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic (CAA) region. He also encouraged the students, calling them the future drivers of development and peace as well as “Commonwealth values such as tolerance and understanding.”
Khan said the students should be very proud of the Commonwealth region they belong to and said it was “everyone’s business to know what’s going on in their country.”
He added that the Commonwealth and CPA stand for good governance, democracy as well as human rights and are opposed to any form of discrimination, including that against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersexual (LGBTI) people interested in getting into local politics.
The CPA Road Show was formed in March 2016 and is part of the annual conference of the CAA region and the CPA. The event was attended by students from schools such as St Joseph’s Convent, Port of Spain, Holy Cross College, San Juan South Secondary School and the University of the Southern Caribbean (USC) as well as members of youth government from TT.