A 16-year-old student stole the show in Parliament yesterday during a special debate to mark Malta becoming the second European country to grant voting rights to people of that age.
Nigel Caruana’s five-minute speech is being reproduced below.
“I wasn’t afraid to come and speak to you today, nor was I scared that my words will fall on deaf ears. Why? Because by giving me the right to vote, you have given me as much as power as yourselves and I now want to use my new right to implement change. Ultimately, that’s what the vote is all about – voting MPs to represent your voice in Parliament, the greatest power of citizens.
I used to be sceptical about Vote 16 and I have heard a lot of scepticism about it since, but ultimately who is old enough to understand about politics and legislatures? Those who learn about the topic of course.
Some say youths like me are mere exceptions and that most of us don’t have the guts to come here and speak their minds, but then I remember all the arguments and discussions my friends and I have had about global and local issues and I realise how passionate we are about politics.
I will be blunt here, but we live in bad times; terrorism is on the rise, large countries are boasting about their nuclear weapons, journalists are getting killed for doing their jobs, and countries with the word ‘United’ in their names want to isolate themselves. The common element here is that there aren’t enough people who think about the consequences of their actions or who look too far in the future. It is us youths who look into the future, because we want to live better lives.
“You gave us this car and you now expect us to drive from here to Cirkewwa although we haven’t been given any driving lessons. What will happen? We’ll either get hurt ourselves or crash the car or damage society. You gave us this right to vote, now it is your duty to teach us how to use it.”