THE HAGUE – The Dutch delegation that participates in next week’s Inter-Parliamentary Consultation of the Kingdom IPKO in St. Maarten is curious to learn about St. Maarten’s recovery after Hurricane Irma and the lessons that can be learned from that for the cooperation within the Kingdom.
Some of the members of the Dutch delegation, which consists of 12 persons from the Second and First Chambers of the Dutch Parliament, are positive about this issue, but others are not. The bi-annual four-day consultation of the Parliaments of the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten starts next week Tuesday.
St. Maarten’s reconstruction, partly financed by the Dutch government through the Trust Fund managed by the World Bank, will be an important topic during the upcoming IPKO. The Dutch Parliament has already expressed concerns about the delay in the spending from the Trust Fund and the long time that it is taking to get visible, tangible results.
“Some politicians in St. Maarten appear to be hampering the process instead of supporting it, which is not good for the St. Maarten people. I expect high-tension meetings and for the first time in 15 years I am sombre about the cooperation within the Kingdom,” said Member of the Second Chamber Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP).
Member of the Second Chamber Joba van den Berg of the Christian Democratic Party CDA said she was curious about the progress of the reconstruction and the stories of the St. Maarten people. “It is important for the Dutch delegation to carefully watch and listen,” she said.
Van den Berg will not be part of the Dutch delegation. Chris van Dam, also of the CDA party, will travel to the Windward Islands instead. Van Dam, as a Justice spokesperson, is very interested to hear about the status of law enforcement and detention in St. Maarten.
The personal contact with the Dutch Caribbean colleagues is one of the most important aspects of the IPKO. Member of the Second Chamber Antje Diertens of the Democratic Party D66 is positive about this element of the IPKO and the contact in general. “Having contact via email, telephone or video conference is not the same as meeting in person, so I am looking forward to speaking with the Members of Parliament of the other countries. I have noticed that our attitude towards each other is becoming increasingly mature,” said Diertens.
Member of the Second Chamber André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party is looking forward to discussing the initiative law proposal that he presented in November 2018 to amend the Charter, giving Curaçao and St. Maarten the option to secede from the Kingdom and become independent. Bosman sent the Kingdom law proposal to the Parliaments of Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten with the intention to discuss it during the IPKO. He first wants to discuss it with the other countries before submitting it to the Second Chamber for handling.
The new Chairman of the Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations of the Second Chamber Jan Paternotte (D66) is leading the Dutch delegation. Senator Ruard Ganzevoort of the green left party GroenLinks, chairman of the First Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations, is deputy delegation leader.
Meanwhile, Curaçao Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath has announced that he wants the objections of the Curaçao government against the Kingdom Law proposal to establish the Dispute Regulation of the Kingdom at the IPKO before the handling of the law proposal starts in the Second Chamber in June this year. According to Rhuggenaath, the fact that the Kingdom Council of Ministers has the last word on all disputes doesn’t serve Curaçao’s interests.