PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – UPNext, the youth movement of the United People (UP) party, will be hosting a youth panel discussion with a unique twist on Saturday, August 16. The event will be held at the Philipsburg Cultural and Community Center from 5:00pm until 9:00pm.
Several of the island’s youth groups will be invited to the discussion entitled “Youth Stand Up & Speak UP” which will feature all 23 of the candidates of the UP for the Parliamentary elections. President of UPNext Kinisha Kalla explained that typically a panel discussion of this nature might feature just a handful of candidates.
“But like our party and our party leader, we wanted to be new and innovative. So the invited groups will be presented with a unique scene in the Cultural Center. All of our candidates will be present on stage, but they will be in groups. There will be a group for education, a group for business/tourism, a group for general government matters ect. We have candidates with vast experience in several sectors, we want to give young people the opportunity to address them all,” Kalla explained.
She continued: “The question will be directed to whichever group and answered by our candidates. Our leader, Member of Parliament Theo Heyliger will have his separate times to weigh in on any topic if he so chooses. The format of the panel discussion will be different and interactive. We are very excited about it. We are excited to give young people the opportunity to question our candidates as well as meet with them informally afterwards,” Kalla added.
The youth panel discussion is just one of at least four events UPNext has planned for August. Currently running is the group’s awareness campaign in the form of a short video competition where young people upload to Facebook videos explaining why it’s important to vote. That competition closes on July 25 and winners will be announced at the party’s first public meeting on July 31.
“When we put this group together the intention was to ensure our young people understand that they are important to the process of governing and that their voices and opinions are important,” UP leader Theo Heyliger said. “They have been very active in the campaign and have plans to be very active after the campaign.
“They have plans in motion to remain contributors in their community long after the votes have been cast. UPNext consists of positively active young people and we encourage the entire community to show them support. I am looking forward to the panel discussion with high anticipation to hear from our country’s future leaders,” Heyliger added.