PHILIPSBURG–“We are the Ambassadors for the kingdom, the whole kingdom, not just one part,” said new Dutch Ambassadors Alexandra Valkenburg (Cuba) and Robert de Leeuw (the Dominican Republic) on a recent visit to St. Maarten.
The two Ambassadors were on a familiarization visit to the three Dutch Caribbean countries – St. Maarten, Aruba and Curaçao – with the aim of raising awareness about their missions and how they can assist in facilitating links in commerce, tourism and in building of networks.
“We are also here to help the private sector. There are always opportunities for the countries of the Dutch Caribbean and we are here to help with exploring that,” De Leeuw said. “If people don’t know we are available, they cannot come to us and we cannot assist them.”
Valkenburg said the Cuba mission is a valuable asset for St. Maarten especially now with the opening up of that Spanish-speaking island for commerce and tourism. “We can inform Government on time about developments so St. Maarten can prepare, react or create new opportunities,” she said.
Liesbeth Mol, Regional Envoy for the Caribbean Missions & Organizations (Havana), who accompanied the Ambassadors to St. Maarten, said the missions can assist the country with gathering information as it seeks to diversify its economy and in reaching out to the regional partners to foster more ties.
The embassy in Havana, Cuba, is establishing a small business hub for visiting public and private representatives. The hub will offer working and meeting facilities to facilitate trade and commerce for the businesses of the Dutch Kingdom.
The assistance and forging of links are not restricted to Government and private sector. The missions can also look into options or connect non-governmental organisations from the Dutch Caribbean with others in the region, said Alex Oosterwijk Regional Envoy for Security, Rule of Law and Human Rights (San José).
Regional Economic Envoy for the Pacific Rim region (Lima) Jurgen Bartelink said there are significant benefits of working together as one team from the Dutch Kingdom. The results of that team work can be seen in the Kingdom’s acquisition of one of the temporary seats on the United Nations Security Council.
The missions also have opportunities for young people interested in international relations and the diplomatic corps. Those positions, particularly for interns, are open for all Dutch citizens. One internship post is open in the Dominican Republic mission. De Leeuw encouraged young people interested to make contact with the mission to learn more.
Internship possibilities are available every six months for candidates from the Dutch Caribbean in the embassies in Mexico, San Jose, Panama, Bogota, Havana, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago and the Consulate General in Miami.
Bringing opportunities such as internships and making connections are among the reasons the Ambassadors and the accompanying staff sought out meetings with Governor Eugene Holiday, Parliament Chairman Claret Connor, Prime Minister William Marlin and other ministries and departments of Government. “This was a way to open the channels,” said Valkenburg. For more information about how the missions can assist you, visit www.cuba.nlambassade.org or republicadodominicana.nlembajada.org.