Effective May 1, Saba will have its own, very first Youth Council with six Saban youngsters having been installed by the Executive Council.
The group consists of high-potential students of the Saba Comprehensive School (SCS). Because they wish to contribute more to Saba and to have the voice of the youth heard, they submitted a request to the Executive Council in April this year to be acknowledged as the Youth Council and to be consulted more on government policies and community initiatives.
The Executive Council that same month approved the request and formally installed the Youth Council as of May 1 for the duration of one year. The government and the Youth Council will now together discuss the roles and responsibilities of the Youth Council. This will include on what topics and in what manner the Youth Council will be included and how the Council’s continuity will be ensured after this first year.
“Our future lies with our youth and with education. Therefore, we strongly support any initiative that further empowers the voice of our Saban youngsters and their personal development,” said Island Governor Jonathan Johnson.
The group that now forms the Youth Council came about after the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) youth project in November and December 2020. Coordinated and trained by Gerald Simmons-de Jong, part of this group represented Saba in an inter-island debate session against St. Maarten and St. Eustatius, and in a lobby session with State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops and Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Stieneke van der Graaff of the Christian Union.
The Youth Council even already had its first consultation. Earlier in April, Island Governor Johnson presented the new draft Traffic Ordinance and its most notable changes to the Youth Council. The youngsters were able to voice their opinion on different topics such as drunk driving, driving with seatbelts, tinted car windows, and the use of child seats.
The members of the Youth Council are very content with the decision of the Executive Council. “We are grateful for being acknowledged and for being given a platform for our voice to be heard,” said Youth Council Member Amanda Clarke.