A leader of tomorrow
“Train up a child in the way they should grow and when they get older they will not depart from it” Proverbs 22:6
All of us have grown up with others in our community and often attended school together. At times you realise these people and their families are part of your daily existence.
Naturally, as they have children, you watch those children evolve from infants into young or not-so-young adults.
There is one such young adult who has excelled, with the support of her family, in practically everything that she puts her mind to. Anyone having a conversation with her would be amazed with her depth of knowledge.
During the last year she has participated in numerous debates, which only seems natural with her participation in the Youth Parliament. At a recent event, she, in typical lawyerlike fashion, asked what it like was to be a politician.
I invited her to come out canvassing to discuss politics. She took me up on the offer and arranged to come out door-knocking last weekend.
While meeting residents of Devon Springs Road, it struck me that there was no way I could write about the experience, so I have asked her to tell her own story.
Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I present McKenzie-Kohl Tuckett.
Chris: So, tell us a bit about yourself.
McKenzie: My name is McKenzie-Kohl Tuckett. I am 14 and attend Warwick Academy, where I am currently in Year 10 (S1). At school, I am a member of the senior debate team, the Public Speaking Club, the Human Rights Club and the Leo Club. I play the flute and am a member of Warwick Academy’s Concert Band and Full Orchestra.
I also play on the school senior girls’ basketball team. I do ballet, jazz, modern dance and tap at In Motion School of Dance, play the piano at the Bermuda School of Music and play cricket with the Axis Angels girl’s cricket team. I enjoy travelling and photography and have a special interest in community service. I am a member of the Youth Parliament and aspire to pursue a career in law and, one day, to be involved in politics.
Chris: How is high school life?
McKenzie: While I am enjoying high school life, it is a lot of hard work and late nights. There are times when I feel overwhelmed, but my mom, Keechia Tuckett, gives her unrelenting support and manages to make me feel better. We are a great team.
Chris: Tell us a bit about your debate team.
McKenzie: After watching a presentation in an assembly, I joined Warwick Academy’s junior debate team in Year 7 (M1). That summer, I recall googling what students who want to pursue law should involve themselves in, and debate was one of the recommendations listed. This year, I joined the senior debate team along with two friends, An-Mei Daniels and Noah Dasilva, who were also previous members.
What I like most about my debate team is that we are very open-minded to each other’s ideas and opinions. This helps with debates and makes preparation a whole lot easier. We don’t have to agree with each other’s position on topics that are to be debated, but we give the respect that is due and hear each other out. I realise that if I am to be a good lawyer and a good politician, I must be a good listener first.
Chris: What led you into Youth Parliament?
McKenzie: I had the opportunity to volunteer at Constituency 2 — St George’s West, for Election Day last July. While I was there, my aunt, Michelle Khaldun, encouraged me to investigate the possibility of joining the Youth Parliament. In September, my mom contacted the Clerk of the Parliament, Shernette Wolffe and Russell Lister. I then joined the Youth Parliament last October.
Chris: How are you finding the experience?
McKenzie: The Youth Parliament has been such a rewarding experience so far. Youth Parliamentarians are quite welcoming and as soon as I joined, I was made to feel like part of the team. We enjoy discussing various issues that the youth are facing in Bermuda.
However, instead of harping on what is wrong, we take it a step further and discuss possible solutions as well. We’ve had various presentations by Scars, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Women’s Resource Centre, Carika Weldon of Bermuda Principles Conference, just to name a few.
In February, we participated in the Bermuda Principles Science Ethics Debate, and last month, we hosted Commonwealth Day. I especially like how the Youth Parliament allows young people like myself, to have direct access to our politicians. Quite often, senators, MPs and cabinet minsters come and sit in on our sessions in the House of Assembly. They stay behind afterwards to provide feedback on our debates and chat with us.
During this year’s Budget debate, Youth Parliamentarians were given the opportunity to assist with various tasks. It was an amazing experience and I thoroughly enjoyed witnessing the Budget debate first hand.
Chris: In your opinion how do you think most young people feel about our country at present?
McKenzie: I believe that young people feel as though Bermuda has a lot to offer. While challenges do exist, that is the case in any community. We all have a responsibility to act in the best interest of our community.
Chris: What is their opinion of politics at present?
McKenzie: I believe that young people have taken a keener interest in politics lately. This is a great thing because we should have a voice and a vision. The only way to have either is with political knowledge.
Chris: If you were an elected MP, what sort of legislation would you bring to the table?
McKenzie: I would start by encouraging my colleagues to update outdated legislation. I would then shift my focus to legislation that would have the biggest impact on the community, for example, tougher road safety laws because so much of the behaviour on our roads is irresponsible. Additionally, I would push for tough laws regarding social media misuse/abuse.
Chris: What message would you send to present politicians of both sides?
McKenzie: The message that I would like to send to politicians is to keep in mind that today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders. We are watching you and we are keen to learn from the example you set.
Chris: What message would you like to send to your generation?
McKenzie: I would like to remind my peers that we must seize the opportunities afforded to us to determine our path in life and own our journey. Resilience is the key to success!
Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him at WhatsApp on 599-0901 or e-mail at email@example.com
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