On Monday 19 October, political youth representatives of Suriname and The Netherlands discussed future relations between the two countries during a special edition of the youth television programme Gran Krutu in Suriname.
The debate took place in the same week as Dutch party leaders visited Suriname (17-24 October) to discuss similar issues with their counterparts. The main recommendations of the political youth representatives were: More focus on education, intensified collaboration of the private sector, a facilitating government as well as a more equal relationship between Suriname and the Netherlands.
Think, talk and do!
The recommendations were documented and presented to the party leaders of both countries on Friday 23 October. The Speaker of the Netherlands’ Parliament, Ms. Gerdi Verbeet, mentioned that “it is interesting to see that the youth focuses much more on the private sector, education and exchange of experiences and expertise, instead of money.” She thinks that “it is remarkable that the youth came close to the conclusions of the senior politicians themselves, although there was not any contact this week.” Moreover, Verbeet mentioned the Denki Taki Du! (Think, Talk and Do!) programme, of which the youth debate on television constituted a part, as a promising initiative.
Mr. Hans Breeveld, director of the Democracy Unit, NIMD’s partner in Suriname, expressed his respect for the fact that the youth were able to develop a dialogue in such an equal and respectful way. Breeveld: “The equality was mainly expressed by the shared opinion with regard to the ending of financial assistance of the Netherlands to Suriname. Moreover, it is interesting to hear that both parties emphasized that they have learned a lot from each other - a promising perspective for the future of both countries.”
Ms. Lisalotte van der Tas of Young NIMD, who participated in the project together with four other political youth representatives from the Netherlands, mentioned that Denki Taki Du! worked as an eye opener. We have to deepen and enlarge this project, and also intensify the contact between the political youth of Suriname and the Netherlands.”
Denki Taki Du! programme
The debate is part of a series of activities in the Denki Taki Du! youth programme, which is organized by the Youth of the Democracy Unit (DU) of the University of Suriname and the political youth representatives of the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) in the Netherlands. A week before this debate took place, fifty young politicians from Suriname were trained on democracy in Suriname, leadership skills, public speaking, political youth participation, campaigning and debating. Of this group, seven young politicians were selected to participate in the Gran Krutu debate on television.
The next phase of the programme will focus on the elections in Suriname, which will take place in May 2010. In February 2010, the political youth representatives in Suriname will debate with the main politicians of Suriname about the elections, in order to increase the attention for youth issues on the political agenda. Denki Taki Du! is supported by a platform of organizations such as the Twinningfaciliteit (UTSN), NIMD, the National Youth Institute of Suriname, the national oil company (Staatsolie) and the National Secretary of Youth Affairs of the Ministry of Education and Citizen Development in Suriname.
For more information on the Denki Taki Du! programme, please contact NIMD Policy Advisor (CDA) Lizzy Beekman.