Princess Beatrix will be present at the Kingdom Youth Parliament event in St. Maarten late May this year, Dutch newspaper de Telegraaf reported on Tuesday evening, writes The Daily Herald. Dutch government information service RVD has confirmed the report. The intention is for the former queen to receive the findings of the teams of youngsters that take part in the debate, which takes place from May 19 to 25.
Five teams of 10 youngsters each from the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao, St. Maarten and the Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba) have been selected. The teams will debate on issues such as politics, education, health care, environment, employment and culture. The Kingdom will be a prominent factor. Discussed will be questions like: What is going well in the Kingdom and how can the relations improve? What is the added value of the Kingdom? What will the Kingdom look like in the future? The answers to these and other questions and issues will be compiled in a final declaration that includes concrete proposals and tools for the various governments in the Kingdom. It is the intention that these findings will be handed over to Princess Beatrix.
Chairperson of the Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations of the First Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Marijke Linthorst of the Labour Party PvdA will now be coaching the Netherlands team. Linthorst will replace Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Wassila Hachchi of the democratic D66 Party. Hachchi had to cancel due to a number of urgent meetings in Parliament.
Linthorst said that she was most happy and looking forward to be coaching the group of 10 youngsters from the Netherlands. Linthorst is also involved with the so-called Third Chamber, a youth Parliament debate structure for children of group eight of primary schools in the Netherlands. “It is important for youngsters to feel that they are part of society, politics and the Kingdom. Overall, children in the Netherlands don’t learn a lot about the Kingdom, while children on the islands do learn more about it,” said Linthorst in an invited comment. The debate on its own is important, but even more essential is the actual encounter between the different Kingdom Youth Parliament teams so they can learn from each other and get to know each other’s culture. “I applaud positive initiatives such as these where youngsters can debate and get to know each other. And if we can include the Kingdom, all the better,” she said.
Former St. Maarten Island Governor Franklyn Richards will be coaching the St. Maarten team, which is led by Trumane Trotman. Former State Secretary of the Netherlands Antilles and former Commissioner of St. Eustatius Nora Sneek-Gibbs is the coach of the Caribbean Netherlands team, with Carl Fielmich of Bonaire at the head.