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Guernsey delegate experiences the world of party politics

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A GUERNSEY student had the chance to experience the world of party politics for the first time last week.

Pierre de Garis, 20, represented the island at the Commonwealth Youth Parliament which was held in Jersey.

Mr de Garis, a second-year modern history and politics student at Cardiff University, said that despite the snowfall the meetings went ahead without a problem.

'When we arrived we were split into mock countries and parties and I was chosen to the be the leader of the party which happened to be the opposition,' he said, adding that his country was named Commonwealthland.

Over the course of four days he and his party were involved in a series of debates held in the States of Jersey's chamber.

He said topics covered including tax reforms, health care reform, schools and education. 'They did resemble a lot of issues of the day in Jersey,' he said.

As leader of the opposition, he spoke several times during the debates with his longest speech being about five minutes while most were about two or three minutes long.

'We were very successful as a party,' he said. 'We proposed a health bill and managed to get it passed including our amendments.

'[The meetings] were similar to Guernsey, but with parties and I've never done anything with party politics before.'

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He said he was keen to get involved with real politics at some time in the future. 'It was a very good experience and one which I would recommend to anyone.'

Other representatives at the gathering came from as far afield as Niue in the South Pacific to Montserrat in the Caribbean and Gibraltar.

The delegates learned about Jersey’s political system and the role of MPs in the UK, met local politicians, formed their own parties, chosen ministers and debated everything from digital skills and healthcare provisions to planning policy and introducing a new tax on retailers selling plastic packaging.

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