We’re almost there! From May 19-22 Kingdom Youth Parliament will meet on St. Maarten. Princess Beatrix will open the meeting where fifty young people will debate about topics that have something to do with our Kingdom. There are five teams of ten young people. The teams come from The Netherlands, Curacao, Aruba, St. Maarten and a team of young people from the BES islands representing Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. As they are getting prepared, meet already three of them:
What do you consider positive aspects of our kingdom ?
Nataly : “Even though we are not physically a single territory, we more or less have the same rights . We can move freely throughout the Kingdom and the EU. The important role of the Kingdom in the world I consider also key and the fact that we have no major disputes with other countries . ”
Ilze : “The fact that the kingdom still exists after 200 years ! And that, together we have become better , because we have shared interests . ”
Marifer : “Some people say: “the Kingdom is 200 years old” . I say: “ the: Kingdom is 200 years strong! I hope it stays that way . ”
What could be better according to you?
Nataly : ” Communication within the Kingdom . There is a lot of political wrangling . It should not be ! We need to talk more together and look further than the obvious differences. We should focus on common interests and not just your own. The population groups still know too little about each other. More and deeper knowledge will also provide more understanding . Better education in schools would certainly help . ”
Marifer : “And everyone in the Kingdom should speak good Dutch. If you have a Dutch passport , you should be able to speak it well. In Aruba , we do speak Dutch , but not at a high level . When I came to the Netherlands , I did not know many words. What a shock ! ”
Ilze : ” Equality . If an Antillean does anything wrong in the Netherlands, then many people have their comments ready. That is not fair because he is also Dutch, the same nationality as we all have.
What are your hopes for the subjects of the debate?
Ilze : “On the free movement of people in the entire Kingdom . Important and logical, because it is a single kingdom. ”
Nataly : “Communication , education , health care , cost of living and the youngsters with an Antillean background that are causing troubles. ”
Marifer : ” Education, the brain-drain , universities Saba and Sint Maarten and cultural differences . ”
How do you see the future of the kingdom ?
Ilze : ” That it may continue to exist for a long time. Certainly for another 200 years as long as we continue discussing to reach good agreements . I hope that the King and Queen King’s will celebrate King’s day once in the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom.”
Nataly : ” The islands will always be the islands and the West Indies always the West Indies, even with all the political changes . The islands want a greater say in decisions that effect the Kingdom as a whole. I think that this is a good evolution . The Netherlands are open for this. This will also lead more mutual interests and commitment from both sides . ”
Natalie and Marifer , how do you see the Netherlands?
Nataly : “My view of the Netherlands was that all Dutch would be smart , educated and serious and life here would be easy. However , people here are just ‘normal’! I also thought that all the Dutch were blond and white. But there are so many more colors here : Turks , Moroccans , Surinamese. I had no idea! ”
Marifer : ” An ideal place to live . It’s very good here. Wonderfully organized and structured. People find life on Aruba chill , but I find it too chill . There is no real control, it is a good thing that The Hague tries to introduce this. I am very pleased with the great Dutch support, financially , socially and politically. Some advocate full independence , but, in contrast, I think it’s very for Aruba to be a part of theNetherlands. Without proper guidance of the islands would not survive very long . There is need for more discipline ! ”
Are you proud of the Kingdom ?
Ilze : ” Yes ! ”
Marifer : ” Yes , especially because of the multicultural aspects . ”
Nataly : “Of course ! We may take advantage of the benefits that the Kingdom has to offer. In my paasport it states that I am Dutch. I’m proud of that ! I was born on St. Maarten, my family is from Curacao , I grew up in Saba , and now I am living in The Netherlands . I am a child of the Kingdom ! ”