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McKenzie-Kohl Tuckett cheered in UK House of Commons

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McKenzie-Kohl Tuckett addresses the British House of Commons (Photograph from social media)

In a first for the island, young Bermudian McKenzie-Kohl Tuckett, former Youth Premier, has delivered a speech in the British House of Commons to mark UK Youth Parliament Day.

Speaking on Friday at the same dispatch box used by the British prime minister and ministers, Ms Tuckett, 19, delivered a speech focusing on the importance of Bermudians bringing their skills back home after their education overseas.

Her talk touched on the island’s National Youth Policy and the need to make Bermuda a place of opportunity for young people to return.

She was called on to speak by Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the House of Commons — popularly known as the mother of Parliaments.

It was the first time representatives of British Overseas Territories were invited to take part in the UK Youth Parliament.

Already an accomplished speaker in debate from her time at Warwick Academy, where she was head girl, Ms Tuckett was prominent as a youth parliamentarian on the island as well as an award-winning public speaker.

In 2021 she won scholarships for legal studies at Bristol University in England. She is also a leading member of Future Leaders Bermuda.

Proud mother Keechia Tuckett, who was in London for her address to the House of Commons, told The Royal Gazette: “I'm extremely proud of McKenzie-Kohl. She represented herself, her family and her island very well.

“As a mother, to be present in the House of Commons and watch my 19-year-old daughter make history is a moment that I will never forget.

“And though I wish that my parents, McKenzie's grandparents, were here to see her flourish, I must thank our village for their continued support.”

She added: “McKenzie's journey is beautiful and I have no doubt that she will continue to let her light shine. My heart is full.”

Bermuda’s London Office tweeted that she “represented our island well with her eloquent and passionate speech on the necessity of cultivating opportunities on-island for young Bermudians”.

Ms Tuckett said she was honoured to be “representing Bermuda’s young people and bringing light to an issue Bermuda’s young people are facing”.

McKenzie-Kohl Tuckett at the House of Commons in London, where she spoke on Bermuda’s loss of young talent overseas (Photograph from social media)

In her speech, she warned that the island suffered from “a brain drain and a loss of qualified talent”.

“When I think of home, I think of a place that provides safety, security and stability,” she told UK Youth Parliament MPs.

“Our investment in our young people, our future leaders, is important. With the work that is being done, I am hoping Bermuda will become a more opportunity-rich island.”

She added: “I extend sincere gratitude on behalf of Bermuda’s young people to our Government, local organisations and those in our community who are actively fulfilling our social responsibility to ensure that Bermuda’s youth can call home — home.”

Dennis Lister, Speaker of the Bermuda House of Assembly, said of Ms Tuckett in a Bermuda Government statement yesterday: “As a Member of Bermuda’s Youth Parliament she has always been a strong voice for the youth of Bermuda and extremely passionate about the issues affecting them and their future.

“She did herself and indeed Bermuda proud and I am sure that all Bermudians share in the congratulations that have been offered.

“Albeit, this is at the international level, but it is yet another Parliament first for Ms Tuckett.

“At the Opening of Parliament in 2020 to mark 400th Anniversary of Bermuda’s Parliament, she along with fellow Youth Parliamentarian Mr Nizae Douglas, addressed questions to the Premier, which is the first time that Members of Youth Parliament were have been able to formally speak in Parliament.”

Mr Lister also acknowledged Sir Lindsay’s decision to give Youth Parliaments within the Overseas Territories the opprotunity take part in the debate.

He said this was part of “Sir Lindsay’s personal efforts to strengthen relationships with his Parliament and those of the Overseas Territories Parliaments”.

Sir Lindsay was quoted in the statement saying “it was about time we heard from our friends in the extended part of our United Kingdom family – and the UK Youth Parliament event offered them the perfect platform”.

He added: “For too long I have felt the British Overseas Territories have been overlooked, yet so many of the decisions we make here in the UK have a huge impact on their futures.

“It was inspiring to hear about the issues that affect young people in the overseas territories and their experiences. I am sure we all learnt a lot from their contributions.”

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Published November 07, 2022 at 7:51 am (Updated November 07, 2022 at 9:13 am)

McKenzie-Kohl Tuckett cheered in UK House of Commons

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