In their editorial The Daily Herald writes that yesterday’s opening of the Kingdom Youth Parliament debate being held at University of St. Martin (USM) was impressive. Not only is it the first-ever such gathering, but the presence of Princess Beatrix, all three Governors, PrimeMinisters and Parliament Presidents of Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten, the Island Governors of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba (the BES islands), and Marijke Linthorst of the Dutch First Chamber indicates the importance given to the event.
The desire was expressed by many that this would not be a onetime deal, but rather an initial step that eventually leads to a better and more united kingdom. Appropriate words such as “commitment” and “not only talking, but listening to each other,” along with useful suggestions, including the placement of basic knowledge about the joint history and relations on schools’ curricula throughout the Kingdom of the Netherlands were used to illustrate such. However, perhaps the best comment in this regard came from Curaçao Governor Lucille George-Wout during the questionand-answer period. She said youth parliaments must be placed on the budgets of the respective countries to ensure their continuity. After all, the current meeting was organised in connection with the 200th anniversary of the kingdom; obviously not an everyday occurrence. Her concern is all the more valid when one takes into account that, for example, the Kingdom Games seemingly also came to a halt because the means to organise the youth sports competition and for upkeep of the local facilities in question were not always made available when needed. The same easily could happen in this case, so she certainly did have a point with her implied advice to “put your money where your mouth is.”
In general, the starting session was a refreshing experience especially to those who sometimes have doubts about the future generation. The young people involved at any rate gave a good account of themselves, inspiring new hope for tomorrow among those who attended.