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Nov 21, 2022

Belize Represented at 11th Commonwealth Youth Parliament in Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago is hosting the Eleventh Commonwealth Youth Parliament under the theme, Youth Involvement in Parliamentary Democracy. The Young Leaders Alliance of Belize has selected two youth representatives from its membership to participate in the event. Those individuals are currently in Trinidad preparing to debate a remote work bill. The event brings together participants between the ages of eighteen to twenty-nine representing nine Commonwealth Parliamentary Association members. News Five’s Paul Lopez reports.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

The Eleventh Commonwealth Youth Parliament is being hosted in Trinidad and Tobago throughout the course of this week. Belize has representation at the event by way of two dynamic youths. They are Kalen Middleton and Darin Avila. Middleton and Avila are members of the Young Leaders Alliance of Belize, YLAB.


Bridgid Annisette-George

Bridgid Annisette-George, Speaker of the House, Trinidad

“This is a momentous event for us at the parliament as it presents a few first. This is the first time we are location host for the Commonwealth Youth Parliament, CYP. This is the first in person CYP since the COVID-19 pandemic seizes the world. This is the first visit of the CPA Secretary General Steven Twigg to our beautiful twin island republic. Participants have come from nations across the nine regions of the CPA, Australia, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Ghana, Malaysia, New Zeeland, Nigeria, St Lucia, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, Tonga, Zambia, and of course Trinidad and Tobago who formed this cohort of CYP.”


Kalen Middleton and Daril Avila travelled from Belize to Trinidad over the weekend. Middleton is a resident of Belize City. She will participate in the parliamentary debate as a government representative for the New Political Movement.


Kalen Middleton

Kalen Middleton, Commonwealth Youth Parliamentarian

“Basically what they did was that they created a fictional jurisdiction and put to us a bill that we need to debate. The bill is the Remote Work Bill 2022 and this bill gives employees and opportunity to apply to their employer to work from a remote location or to reduce the amount of days in a work week to four days instead of five days. Because of my background in Biology, my party decided to task me to take this bill from an environmental point of view on how can the Republic of Kairi and Chaconia because that is what the fictional jurisdiction is called, the Republic of Kairi and Chaconia will benefit environmentally.”


Daril Avila is a resident of Punta Gorda Town. He will participate in the Commonwealth Youth Parliament as an Opposition Member.


Daril Avila

Daril Avila, Commonwealth Youth Parliamentarian

“Right now as the Opposition we are fighting against the government to amend some of these bills. Because, when we were in our caucus meeting, we have a very lot of amendments to the bill we want to bring about to the table for tomorrow. My presentation or my debate tomorrow will be about carbon footprint, for the fact that the country we are debating this bill on relies heavily on tourism and transportation. So, I will be as the opposition formulating my debate on the carbon footprint within the transportation sector.”


As members on opposite sides of the floor, Middleton and Avila are currently engaged in some healthy rivalry.


Paul Lopez

“To you have to hold your ideas from Kalen, given the fact that she is a representative for the government?”


Daril Avila

“She does not even want to talk to me right now, for the fact that we are basically in the same line of debating whatsoever I will be speaking on and she will be speaking on.”


Kalen Middleton

“I think Daril was also tasked to do environment on his opposition side, so we are kinda beefing. I do not want to speak with him because I do not want any tea spillage per say.”

The debate will officially begin on Tuesday at eight a.m. inside the Red House which is the seat of Parliament in Trinidad and Tobago.


Stephen Twigg

Stephen Twigg, Secretary General, C.P.A.

“In the session just now, I was asked about the future of the Commonwealth and the role of the Commonwealth going forward. And the question, I think, was very correctly located in the context of some of the controversy about the history of Commonwealth, the colonial legacy, the impact of slavery and an opportunity to have an open, honest, debate about the problematic history of the Commonwealth only serves to strengthen our organization going forward.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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