Opposition Spokesperson on Local Government and Sport, Natalie Neita Garvey has made a call for young people to be given a voice in the constitutional reform process.
In making the call, she argued that for 61 years, for too many Jamaicans – “our constitution has been weak”.
“Many of our women and children still live on the margins of success, denied full participation in national progress because of centuries old impediments or systemic flaws left over from colonialism which collectively we delayed in addressing and redressing for far too long,” she said.
In this regard, Neita Garvey said the work of the Constitutional Reform Committee must be as open and participatory as possible.
“So that any man, woman or young adult or even child, who is invested enough, curious enough, concerned enough to ponder or offer an opinion or even to keep abreast of the deliberations can, from anywhere within the country,” she said.
The Opposition spokesperson was speaking Tuesday in the House of Representatives as she made her contribution to the 2023/24 Sectoral Debate.
Continuing, she said: “Either through attendance at consultations and town halls, or virtually by watching the live streams or scrutinising the notes and minutes that emanate from the various activities. After all, the current constitution is in its 61st year. The new one will outlast most, if not all of us in this House. It is therefore the constitution that will accompany our youth well into their adulthood and no measure must be spared to ensure their full and active participation to fix the constitution of the land of their birth to provide the rights, opportunities and outcomes that will cause them to truly say, with pride, responsibility and understanding – ‘I come from Jamaica, I live in Jamaica, I am a Jamaican’”.
According to Neita Garvey, that understanding must no longer be just about place of birth, but place of choice to live, succeed and excel.
And, she noted that in the current digital age, “some of us are involuntary participants due to the advances in communication and technology.
“Our youth were born in it, they change it, create it and utilise it far more expertly than you or I ever will. They are in truth our first digital generation and they must be included in this process at all costs”.