Dutch Senate asks about support for Dispute Regulation law

THE HAGUE - Before the June 1 plenary handling of the law proposal to establish the Dispute Regulation for the Kingdom, the First Chamber of the Dutch Parliament (the Senate) wants to get some answers as to the say of the Dutch Caribbean countries in the long process to arrive at this regulation.

Several parties in the Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations in the Senate had questions and remarks about the Explanatory Note that accompanied the kingdom law proposal on Kingdom Disputes.

In particular, the line in the Explanatory Note stating that, “Especially the non-binding character of the rulings of the disputes entity is lamented and considered as an infringement of earlier formulated points of departure,” sparked questions.

The Democratic Party D66 asked what the situation would be if a dispute arose and the Kingdom Disputes Department of the Council of State had come to a judgement. “How is the situation if the three Dutch Caribbean countries find that the ruling should be binding and therefore followed, and the Dutch government does not?”

The Party for Freedom PVV asked for clarification about the statement of the kingdom government that after the handling of the law proposal in July 2019 in the presence of special delegates from Aruba and Curaçao, the Dutch Caribbean countries were in “relative agreement” with the adopted law.

The PVV asked the kingdom government to indicate what it meant by “relative agreement,” considering the fact that at the same time it was determined that there was still disappointment and that the countries found that the earlier agreed upon points of departure were infringed on.

The PVV further asked about the line in the Explanatory Note stating that, “During the consultation of this Explanatory Note with the governments of Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten the points of concern were again deliberated. An extensive exchange of thoughts on this was not evident due to the current phase of the law process.”

“Can the kingdom government indicate why an extensive exchange of thoughts was not evident in this phase of the law process? Can the kingdom government indicate whether by forgoing on a further exchange of thoughts with the countries, there is a risk of a badly supported Kingdom Disputes Law? Can the kingdom government specify what this means for the practicality of this law?”

As for the disappointment of the countries about the non-binding part of the rulings of the dispute entity, the PVV asked the kingdom government to elaborate on other disappointments of the countries with regard to the kingdom law proposal.

The kingdom government wrote in the Explanatory Note that it was confident that the disappointment of Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten about some aspects of the law proposal would not have an adverse effect on the workings of the law.

D66 wanted to know on what the kingdom government based this confidence considering that Curaçao will shortly have a new government and Aruba will have a new government after the June 25 elections. D66 pointed out that the new Curaçao government will have a different profile than the previous one.

The Christian Democratic Party CDA enquired about the position of the three members that the Dutch Caribbean countries will nominate for the Kingdom Disputes Department of the Council of State, and whether these members could be fired or would be appointed for life.

D66 asked about the objective position of the Caribbean members of the Kingdom Disputes Department. The party wanted to know how the situation would be handled if the reported lack of objectivity of a member only became apparent after his or her appointment.

The Party for Animals PvdD asked if the kingdom government shared the party’s opinion that the Kingdom Council of Ministers needs to take a decision as soon as possible after the ruling of the Kingdom Disputes Department. “How much time is allowed between a ruling and a decision?”

The Senate’s Kingdom Relations Committee has sent its questions and remarks to Undersecretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops. The Committee stated that if it received the answers no later than May 26, it considered the law proposal ready for plenary handling on June 1. Special delegates from the Parliaments of Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten will attend this debate.

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