At the start of their last day of meetings in the Netherlands with sufficient energy, Commissioner of Youth Affairs Rolando Wilson treated the Saba Youth Council, the parents, and coaches to breakfast in The Hague on Thursday, July 7.
Commissioner Wilson was very impressed with the packed program of the Youth Council’s one-week visit to the Netherlands, which included meetings with State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Alexandra van Huffelen, members of the Utrecht Municipal Council, members of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament, and at the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).
“I am very happy that the Public Entity Saba, UNICEF and the Ministry of BZK were able to make this trip for the Saba Youth Council a reality. The Public Entity Saba commits together with the Ministry of BZK and UNICEF to make this a yearly tradition. The voice of the youth is important. They are our future,” said Commissioner Wilson.
Wilson said that the exposure of the Netherlands was good for the members of the Youth Council in order for them to see the reality of the Netherlands and what student homes look like. “Studying and participating in a big society like the Netherlands, one needs to be sure of oneself and have a goal,” Wilson said.
On Wednesday, July 6, the Youth Council met with Anke Stapels and Jorick van Erp of the Ministry of BZK who gave a presentation about the inclusion of the voice of the youth on a national level. This was a follow-up to a meeting earlier this year. Members of the Saba Youth Council said they would like to be structurally included in the National Youth Council. “It is important to have the right representation of Saba on a national level,” said Vernisha Robinson.
On that day, the Saba Youth Council also visited the Second Chamber. They happened to bump into Member of Parliament (MP) Joba van den Berg of the CDA party who spoke with the members of the Youth Council about their role and their inception. The group was welcomed by Raissa Biekman, policy advisor at the D66 party for MP Jorien Wuite. They were given a tour of the Second Chamber building and attended a procedural meeting of the Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations. MP Wuite had lunch with the group and they discussed together things that are going well and things that the youth of Saba find important for the Second Chamber to work on. The lack of inclusion and systemic racism both on a Saban level and national level were discussed, and the group talked about educational development and access to higher education.
To close the day, UNICEF organized workshops for moms and teens in the afternoon. The Saba Youth Council said it was incredibly grateful for this trip and for this opportunity, facilitated by UNICEF and the Ministry of BZK.
The Saba Youth Council thanked UNICEF, Saba’s Executive Council and the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK for this unforgettable week. “This truly was a week that we will remember for the rest of our lives,” stated the Saba Youth Council.