- Says there is no need to rig the competition
The National Youth Debating Competition which is an initiative of the Speaker of the National Assembly Manzoor Nadir was launched in 2021 and returns on Friday, April 8.
15 of the 16 participants from last year will be returning to the competition, with the Bartica Youth Group replacing the University of Guyana Student Society (UGSS).
The UG student group indicated that they would not be participating this year after losing one round of the debate to the Port Kaituma Youth group last year saying that the judges voted in favour of the hinterland group.
However, the House Speaker on Monday during a press conference refuted these claims.
“We don’t fix the judges…. Why would someone want to favour one group or the other? the only person that can do that is the Parliament or can be accused of doing that is the organizer of the competition. None of us knew the Port Kaituma Youth group and most of the other youth groups. They are based on the constituents of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport. They generate it from their list, the youth group they process of reaching out to them and finding out who is willing to participate and then a list was sent to us.”
Furthermore, he explained that the covid 19 pandemic also posed some challenges to this competition.
“We were just coming out of the strong lockdown for 2020 and now Parliament was just a few months old and so timing was the big issue and trying to get our list of activites going. The programme for Parliament not only holding committee meeting or holding sessions of Parliament to deal with all the routine issues that the Parliament has to deal with but we had to look at some of the other programmes that we wanted to. So we had a short window to first of all do the selection.”
However, Mr Nadir posited that the competition will ensure that more young people are involved in Parliamentary Affairs while bringing people closer.
The competition is being offset at the sum of $10 million and the first debate will be between the Linden Super Stars and Golden OM Dharmic Youth Organisation.
The 16 groups represented at the competition come from nine of the 10 administrative regions.
Furthermore, the House Speaker also announced that Youth Parliament is set for August 12.