PHILIPSBURG:--- The Kingdom Youth Parliament will be held on St. Maarten from 20 to 22 May. Five teams of ten 16 to 23 year-olds will debate issues including education, culture, sustainable development and the rights of children – and give their views on the Kingdom today and in the future. The teams will come from the Netherlands, Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten, plus a combined team from Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba (Caribbean Netherlands). The Kingdom Youth Parliament is the National Committee 200 Years Kingdom's third national event and is jointly organized with the Kingdom Relations Committee.
The Kingdom Youth Parliament will be opened by Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix on 20 May. Her Royal Highness will attend several sessions and receptions as part of the Youth Parliament and will meet with a number of team members.
Around 150 potential team candidates applied – by video – in 2013. Selection criteria included enthusiasm, persuasiveness and consistency. The broadest possible coverage of aspects relevant to the Kingdom was also a priority. The 50 successful finalists formed five teams.
Every team was allocated a coach with a long track record in politics and administration: for the Netherlands Marijke Linthorst, member of the Upper House of Parliament; Curaçao - former Antilles premier Suzy Römer; Aruba - minister Michelle Winklaar; St. Maarten - former Lt. Governor Franklyn Richards; and for the CN team, former state secretary of the Antilles Nora Sneek. The debates will be chaired by Roderik van Grieken and Else van Nieuwkerk of the Netherlands Debating Institute.
The National Committee has published a historical timeline booklet to mark the celebrations around 200 Years Kingdom. "Unity and Diversity - 200 years Kingdom, key historical dates for the Netherlands and the six Caribbean islands" will be distributed to junior/senior high school students on the six islands. For teachers the booklet offers interesting links and openings around their island's history. On 21 May, in the presence of Princess Beatrix, National Committee chair Ank Bijleveld-Schouten will present the first copy to students of the St. Maarten Academy.
Starting today the web magazine on www.200jaarkoninkrijk.nl will focus on the Kingdom in the Caribbean. Coverage includes interviews with young people involved in the Kingdom Youth Parliament – and with Cuco Martina (FC Twente), Olympian swimmer Enith Brigitha, and National Committee member Izaline Calister makes a musical appeal.
National Committee 200 Years Kingdom
The Kingdom Youth Parliament is the committee's third national event since the start of celebrations on 30 November 2013 and the Constitution Festival on 29 March 2014. The programme will highlight our shared past, present and future – and democracy – plus universal rights and obligations. Three more events are scheduled after St. Maarten: 30 August 2014 in Maastricht, 18 April 2015 in Zwolle and 26 September 2015 in Amsterdam.
The main programme of the Kingdom Youth Parliament includes:
Monday 19 May – Teams meet together and make the acquaintance of National Committee members
Tuesday 20 May – Official opening/debates start
Wednesday 21 May – Workshops and dinner
Thursday 22 May – Drafting of closing statement and farewell party
Friday 23 May – Farewell and departure
Press Release by the National Committee 200 Years Kingdom