Benedict Amamize

I am a 52 year old immigrant from Nigeria. A secondary school teacher. And married with two daughters. We live in Livingston.

Citizens’ Assemblies have been used successfully in other parts of the world to bring about the desired change. So, my thinking was that our decisions will provide needed political cover for politicians to set aside their differences and do the right thing. The assembly is the needed vehicle to drive and convey the policy change.

It’s been great to learn much about Scotland from the expert witnesses. It is a great thing to be listened to. Our assembly adopted the 3 step process of Learning, Deliberation and Decision making. We were supported by a team of impartial facilitators who guided us through the process, ensuring that everyone was heard and comfortably participating.

I have learned to discuss and engage with people with a view of reaching collective decision, knowing that everybody’s voice is important and has to be heard. More important is the fact that this world is a field of play, individuals and countries are players that need to strategize, reposition and plan to remain relevant and equipped to face the challenges on the field of play. Scotland had to be repositioned. It needed to be done and the assembly – the ordinary citizens of Scotland have done it. The people have spoken.

Due to the devastating effect of COVID, poverty has risen exponentially from an already unacceptably high level. More people are now facing situations where they cannot afford the basics, play a full role in the society nor reach their full potentials. Our recommendations are all policies that will reduce and eradicate economic poverty, health poverty, social, educational, mental, and every other poverty that is limiting the people of Scotland. Poverty in all facet of life are pointers to the fact that our government has to open up routes out of poverty and try to prevent more people from being trapped in this cycle. I also want to see the implementation of community led participation in decision making and government. Community participation will ultimately promote transparency, openness and build ownership of decisions and policies. Community and citizens participation encourages citizens to be more engaged in the decision-making processes that have an impact on their local communities.

Man smiling