DH editorial: What really counts

Two parties submitting a joint motion in the Parliament of the Netherlands to complete the trajectory that is to lead to full independence for the Dutch Caribbean countries (see Friday paper) is certainly notable, but no reason to expect any sudden official moves in that direction. Second Chamber members André Bosman (VVD) and Ronald van Raak (SP) want the Government in The Hague to consult the United Nations (UN) as well as the three kingdom partners involved to “arrive at a definite fulfilment of the right of self-determination.”

The latter term is important, because Curaçao and St. Maarten have both held several constitutional referenda in which large majorities did not opt for independence. In Aruba they actually did, as a prelude to achieving their “separate status” back in 1986, but voters there have long since clearly indicated a preference to leave things as is.

Of course, the Netherlands too has that same right, but in practice it’s the (former) colonies, not the coloniser, that get first choice for obvious reasons often having to do with size, stage of development and economic strength. Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Minister Ronald Plasterk rightly said he needs to discuss this matter with the three countries before taking such a step.

In addition, he doesn’t agree with the end goal mentioned and didn’t think independence was such a good idea for the people on the islands. The Dutch Government has no intention to end the current constellation either.

It appears the liberal governing party VVD and socialist opposition party SP can agree on very little except the Caribbean part of the kingdom. What’s more, the two elected representatives in question have consistently blamed local authorities for not properly running their respective countries and for allowing financial mismanagement as well as corruption and the infiltration of organised crime in all levels of society.

In doing so they regularly express grave concern for the wellbeing of citizens on the islands, yet this evidently doesn’t matter that much as long as they don’t have to continue sharing in the final responsibility. The message is clear: We will decide what’s good for you, but only until we can get rid of you.

Thankfully, not everyone in their two parties is probably of a similar mind-set, while a coalition between VVD and SP in the near future seems highly unlikely. Surely nothing drastic is to be expected any time soon in this regard from the Kingdom Council of Ministers and that – with all due respect – is what really counts.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/editorial/60964-what-really-counts