Cayon High students praised for seeking to understand how parliament works

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, November 29, 2019 (PLP PR Media Inc.) — A group of 21 Fourth Form, Social Studies, students and two of their teachers out of the Cayon High School on Thursday November 28 received special treatment during a sitting of the National Assembly where they had come to learn first-hand, the workings of a parliament.

“I think it is always healthy when the young people show interest in the developments in the country and in this particular case, I want to thank those from the Cayon High School who came as part of their Social Studies curriculum to get a better perspective of how parliament works,” said Prime Minister, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris.

Before the official start of parliamentary proceedings, Prime Minister Harris had crossed over to the gallery where the students and their teachers sat and greeted each one of them individually. At the end of the morning session he expressed regret that due to time constraint the students had to leave the parliament in the middle of proceedings before the morning session ended.

The students and their two teachers, Ms Akilia Hodge and Mr Vernon Wilkinson, had been ushered into the gallery quite early where they caught the attention of Clerk of the National Assembly Mrs Sonia Boddie-Thompson who started explaining to them how the parliament works. She later invited Senior Minister and Minister of Nevis Affairs, Labour, Social Security, and Ecclesiastical Affairs, the Hon Vance Amory, to talk to them.

The Senior Minister noted that it is important that the students appreciate and understand how things happen in parliament, adding that there was need to encourage more of the children in schools to have an opportunity to do so.

“I think Mrs Sonia Boddie-Thompson, the Clerk, is to be commended because she asked if I would discuss with them and have questions,” noted Hon Amory who said he enjoyed talking to them. “I met with them and spoke with them because it is important that our people understand how governments work, how the country works, and not any longer not have an appreciation and be able to analyse, evaluate what is happening with the country.”

After the Hon Amory would have talked to them the Hon Lindsay Grant walked into the chambers and when he came to greet them, they were asked to state his name, the constituency he represents, and the ministerial portfolios he holds.

They were correct in all but missed out some of his ministerial when they said he was the Minister of Tourism. He told them: “There is also International Trade, Industry and Commerce.”

They did not have problems with the name of the Hon Mark Anthony Brantley and ministerial portfolios holds when he came to greet them. They knew he was the Premier of Nevis and the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs and Aviation.

The students also caught the attention of the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Hon Michael Perkins, who at every step in the House proceedings took the liberty to explain to them what was happening. The students keenly took notes.

Before Prime Minister Harris tabled the ‘Constitution of Saint Christopher and Nevis (Tenure of Office of Prime Minister) (Amendment) Bill 2019’ for its second reading, Speaker Perkins explained to the students how voting for bills before the parliament is done.

“Only the elected members of parliament, otherwise known as the Representatives, will be entitled to cast a vote in respect to this (constitutional) bill,” advised the Speaker. “Other bills like the one which preceded and was moved by the Honourable Member for Nevis Ten, and Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs (the Hon Vance Amory), once the question was put as to how members would vote, all members present were entitled to vote, elected and appointed – appointed meaning senators.”

Minister the Hon Ian Patches Liburd who tickled the Cayon High School students (and others in parliament) when he referred to people who make allegations as ‘allegators’, addressed the students as ‘future leaders in parliament’ and informed them that his grandmother grew up in Cayon.

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