SABA—As of May 1, Saba will have its own, very first Youth Council comprising of six Saban youngsters who were installed by the Executive Council.
The group consists of high-potential students from the Saba Comprehensive School. The youngsters say they wish to contribute more to Saba and to have a voice that represent the youth, they submitted a request to the Executive Council in April this year to be acknowledged as the Youth Council and to be consulted more often 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, 2021 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 the first year.
“Our future lies with our youth and with education, says Island Governor Jonathan Johnson. Therefore, we strongly support any initiative that further empowers the voice of our Saban youngsters and their personal development.”
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 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 the different topics such as drunk driving, driving with seatbelts, tinted car windows and the use of child seats.
Youth Council member Amanda Clarke says the members of the Youth Council are pretty much satisfied with the decision taken by the Executive Council in acknowledging the Committee and for having been given a platform for their voices to be heard.”