The Daily Herald reports that the participants in the Kingdom Youth Parliament came together with members of the National Committee 200 Years Kingdom and the Committee Kingdom Relations in The Hague on Friday in preparation for the Kingdom Youth Parliament event in St. Maarten in May.
Members of the Dutch, Curaçao, Aruba and Caribbean Netherlands teams were welcomed by Chairperson of the National Committee 200 Years Kingdom Ank Bijleveld-Schouten and other committee members, including
former Vice-president of the Council of State Herman Tjeenk Willink and TV personality Albert Verlinde.
During the formal lunch held at the majestic, old building of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament in the Binnenhof, the delegation members introduced themselves. They all said they were very much looking forward to the debates in St. Maarten, which start on May 19 and to also visit the island.
Some youngsters said they were looking forward to working with each other, while others said this would be a unique opportunity to bring the different cultures together. Princess Beatrix will be attending part of the programme in St. Maarten. Members of the National Committee 200 Years Kingdom and the Committee Kingdom Relations will also be going to St. Maarten.
Representing Saba at Friday’s gathering were Nataly Linzey and Elsa Peterson. They are the only Sabans on the 10-member Caribbean Netherlands team. “I am very excited. I have always been very interested in politics, in helping to make things better. I hope that with this debate we will contribute to a better Kingdom,” Peterson, safety and security management student at The Hague University, told The Daily Herald.
Linzey, student Dutch Law at Leiden University, said she was very much looking forward to the debate in St. Maarten. “It is a very nice opportunity to work together as a Kingdom, to bond and to share unity,” she said. Linzey and Peterson decided to do the audition to be part of the Caribbean Netherlands team. They were happy when they learned they had been selected and are both very proud to be representing their island.
Meet Nataly Linzey – one of Saba’s representatives in the Kingdom Youth Parliament
Aruba’s team member and Ambassador Marifer Aquirre Broca, who does international studies in Leiden and has never visited St. Maarten before, said she looked forward to discussing common topics, like education. She
posed an interesting view. “Shouldn’t it be that everyone in the Kingdom, including the Windward Islands, should speak the Dutch language?”
Curaçao’s team member Kenneth Ogenio, who studies medicine in Rotterdam and has also never been to St. Maarten, said he hoped that his participation would contribute to better relations in the Kingdom. “How can we turn the love-hate relationship into a permanent positive relationship?”
No representative was present on behalf of the St. Maarten team. “Today we got acquainted with the Dutch team and the members of the team who are living in the Netherlands. It is a group of highly-inspired youngsters,
who will take part in discussions as true debaters about the future of our Kingdom,” said Bijleveld-Schouten in an invited comment.
“The youngsters, 50 in total, will be debating about subjects like the uniformity of language in education, mutual tensions, health care, corruption and the cost of living. Current topics that affect us all,” said Bijleveld-Schouten, who lauded the superb interest of youngsters throughout the Kingdom. In total, 150 youngsters had applied, of whom 50 were selected. “As National Committee, we want to promote and encourage the ties within the Kingdom. What more could one wish for with our youngsters who want to share their vision and opinion about the current and future of our Kingdom? We hope to have more events like this,” said Bijleveld-
Tjeenk Willink said he was happy with the level of enthusiasm of the young debaters. He said he was positive that the Kingdom Youth Parliament event will be successful and that it will contribute to a further strengthening of the relations in the Kingdom.
Read the earlier articles on the Kingdom Youth Parliament: