Vital issues discussed by Youth Parliament

Cook Islands National Youth Council (CINYC) has hailed the ELECT Cook Islands Youth Parliament, which ended yesterday, a success.

The programme was attended by young people from the southern group islands as well as northern group islands representatives residing in Rarotonga.

Council president Sieni Tiraa said they managed to achieve their objectives in the three-day programme.

Those objectives included increasing awareness on the significance of voting and voter rights education and raising awareness on the processes of government and parliament.

It also aimed at planting an interest amongst Cook Islands youth in politics and decision-making at the highest level, as well as providing a platform for youth to be involved and engaged in higher level topic discussions.

“The feedback from participants has shown that they are keen to see a youth in politics programme established similar to the current women’s in politics programme,” Tiraa said.

“It is through the ELECT youth parliament forum that they have become more informed and engaged and this platform has provoked an interest amongst participants to become more involved in higher level decision going into the future.”

Participants had become interested in consultations for significant legislation such as the Crimes Bill, Tiraa said.

CINYC has been focusing on education, advocacy and raising awareness to engage youth in topics that involve decision-making at a high level.

Legislation, government, parliament were not areas of specific focus that youth in the Cook Islands are necessarily accustomed to, Tiraa said.

“The ELECT youth programme is a platform in which we can help the youth of the Cook Islands be more informed on government processes, especially parliament and legislation.

“It also, provides the opportunity to empower our youth to realise the importance of their active participation and rights by way of voting in national elections

“With our election coming up in June, we felt that ELECT youth parliament would be of greater relevance to our youth, therefore making the timing of this programme ideal.”

Tiraa said a report would be produced to not only report back as part of their obligations to donors, but also to inform the council’s work plan and that of key stakeholders.