Former vice-president of the Council of State and current member of the National Committee 200 Years Kingdom Herman Tjeenk Willink fully supports the Kingdom Youth Parliament event that will be held on St. Maarten in May next year, writes The Daily Herald. According to Tjeenk Willink, the Kingdom Youth Parliament debate, with 50 youngsters representing the Netherlands and the six Dutch Caribbean islands, is an important event and by no means should be considered a festivity for the selected few. “Young generations from all parts of the Kingdom will debate on everyday subject matters that concern us all. That in itself is a reason to have this event,” said Tjeenk Willink in an article written by journalist Tanja Fraai. Tjeenk Willink, who is well-known and much respected on the islands, summed up the important attainments of the relations in the Kingdom that have been built over the past 200 years: active citizenship, multiform societies, an international orientation, the democratic state of law and rule of law. “These attainments are not a given. You have to maintain them, dedicate proper attention to them,” said Tjeenk Willink whose farewell tour to the islands in 2011 served as a source of inspiration to launch the Kingdom Youth Parliament. Tjeenk Willink saw the Aruban Youth Parliament at work on Aruba during that farewell tour. “They debated with fantastic participants, good debating techniques and in multiple languages,” he said, lauding such initiatives that give meaning to the diversity of the Kingdom.
The Kingdom Youth Parliament is an initiative of the Committee Kingdom Relations, the National Committee 200 Years Kingdom and five young people: Kingdom Youth Parliament ambassadors Trumane Trotman of Team St. Maarten, Marifer Aguirre-Broca of Team Aruba, Kennedy Ogenio of Team Curaçao, Carl Fielmich of Team Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, and Aster van Tilburg of Team the Netherlands. Five teams of 10 young people, one from each part of the Kingdom, will go into debate in May 2014. University of St. Martin (USM) and the St. Maarten Youth Council jointly will take care of the local organisation.
The discussions will be led by the Netherlands Debate Institute. The Committee Kingdom Relations will be in charge of the general management part in collaboration with the five ambassadors. Each of the five debating teams will have its own coach, a person with extensive expertise and experience in politics and government. They are Wassila Hachchi for the Dutch team, Suzy Römer for the Curaçao team, Michelle Winklaar for the Aruba team, Franklyn Richards for the St. Maarten team and Nora Sneek for the Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba team.