Some of the island’s potential future legislators visited the historic chambers of the House of Assembly on Wednesday.
It was a key stop on an educational tour for over 30 students from primary schools in St James North and St Peter, hosted by Members of Parliament Edmund Hinkson and Colin Jordan.
“Every child in Barbados must know that they have the potential to become parliamentary representatives, political representatives, just like Colin and myself, and serve in these chambers,” Hinkson told Barbados TODAY as the excited students eagerly explored the third oldest Parliament in the Americas.
For about seven years now, the two northern political colleagues have teamed up every summer to provide the annual treat for the graduating classes of the primary schools in their constituencies.
For Minister Jordan, it’s a critical give-back to the island’s youth. He believes that mentoring children is an important task that deserves more support.
“We have a responsibility to be of assistance to them, to be mentors, to expose them to various activities, various areas of endeavour, various situations that could provide for them,” he said.
“And so for Members of Parliament, our responsibility goes beyond those who vote. We have a developmental responsibility and so, as part of that developmental responsibility, our work with our children becomes very important.
“I would certainly encourage adults in responsible positions to identify with our young people, be part of a process of exposing them to various activities, various places so that we can help to fashion the kind of young persons that we would want to be nation builders as we move forward,” added Jordan.
Hinkson added that mentoring should not be left solely to parents, stressing that the wider society also has a part to play.
“I know how it is being parents of 11-year-olds. I always say this is one of the most challenging things I’ve had to do in life. You can’t pick up a book and read how to be a parent. Parenting must involve not only the biological parents, but it has to have the all-society approach – the communities, the schools, of course, the churches, the political leaders . . . and, therefore, mentoring these children, being with them, guiding them.”
Hinkson is working on introducing a parenting programme in his constituency next year.
“You must learn to give back to your societies, your communities, what you have gained, and this is a part of it,” he said.
Wednesday’s all-day activities also included a tour of the Barbados Coast Guard and culminated at the King George V Memorial Park where the children enjoyed games and a wide range of food and treats.