Islands demand priority for Dispute Regulation | THE DAILY HERALD

THE HAGUE–The Parliamentary delegations of Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten discussed an array of common topics during a tripartite meeting in The Hague on Monday, in anticipation of this week’s Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultations IPKO, which includes the Netherlands. The Dispute Regulation was discussed at length. The Dutch Caribbean countries demand action on this subject.

For the St. Maarten delegation, headed by Chairperson of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams, there are two issues that are of particular importance: the Dispute Regulation and the future of the Kingdom, both of which directly affect the relations with the Netherlands and the cooperation within the Kingdom.

Wescot-Williams, who arrived in The Hague on Monday, a day or two later than the other delegation members due to Saturday’s funeral of former Democratic Party (DP) politician Roy Marlin, said she found it “quite unfortunate” that the law proposal to arrive at a Dispute Regulation (“geschillenregeling”) had been parked by the Dutch government.
The delegation leader considered it particularly worrisome because the four Parliaments of the Kingdom several years ago had already agreed on the need to establish a Dispute Regulation. A Dispute Regulation is important considering the “many contentious issues” that exist between the Dutch Caribbean countries and the Netherlands.

It had been agreed in a past meeting that there would be one law proposal for a Dispute Regulation to be drafted by the Netherlands, to which the Dutch Caribbean countries could propose amendments. The Council of State has prepared an advice on that law proposal, but it has not been published because in the meantime the Dutch government has shelved the draft law.

“Everyone was anxiously awaiting the advice of the Council of State. That advice is ready, but it is not being shared with the countries. Naturally that does not sit well with us. We are saying tell us what the advice says,” Wescot-Williams of the United Democrats told The Daily Herald during a break in Monday’s tripartite meeting.
Aruba’s delegation leader and Chairman of the Aruba Parliament Ady Thijsen said the three countries had decided to bring the issue of the Dispute Regulation to the floor of the IPKO on the first day, and not to wait for Wednesday when the agenda point was originally scheduled.

“We need clarity from our Dutch colleagues on where things stand. We have been discussing this matter for eight years and we want clarity. Parking the law proposal is definitely not the way to go and it is against the agreement that we had,” Thijsen said. Aruba acted as the host country during Monday’s tripartite meeting. Thijsen chaired the meeting.

“We are not accepting that the Dutch government has put this law proposal on ice without our input,” said Member of the Curaçao Parliament and Chairperson of the Kingdom Relations Committee Ana-Maria Pauletta of the PAR party. She said that there were several current issues that required an independent standpoint such as assistance to Venezuelan refugees and financial supervision. “We can’t wait every time for a new dispute to evolve.”
The future of the Kingdom was another topic that was discussed during Monday’s tripartite meeting. “Cooperation within the Kingdom is essential if this constellation is to survive for another 40 years,” said Curaçao Member of Parliament (MP) Paulette.

The St. Maarten delegation is adamant that the topic of the future of the Kingdom is discussed at this IPKO. The original intention was to have a formal discussion with the Netherlands about the Kingdom in 2040, but this is not acceptable for St. Maarten, nor for Curaçao and Aruba.

As St. Maarten we are saying we need to address this issue now. We need to talk about what creates the tensions. We have to start looking at today. It makes no sense to ponder about the future if we can’t discuss the situation of today,” said Wescot-Williams.

The three delegations therefore decided on Monday to appoint an ad hoc committee with one representative of each country to draft a joint document with points that affect and deteriorate relations within the Kingdom. The intention is to submit this document for discussion at the IPKO this week.

Aside from Wescot-Williams, St. Maarten is represented by three other MPs: Silveria Jacobs (National Alliance), Wycliffe Smith (St. Maarten Christian Party) and Roland Brison (United St. Maarten Party). Support is provided by Parliament Registrar Nancy Guishard-Joubert and legal expert Ralph Richardson.

Other topics that were discussed during the meeting at the Mercure Hotel included a Constitutional Court for Aruba and Curaçao (see related story), cooperation in healthcare, implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the functioning of the Committees for Financial Supervision CFT and CAFT, the situation in Venezuela and the consequences for Aruba and Curaçao, the problems with naturalisation and the law proposal of the Party for Freedom PVV to send back criminals to the Dutch Caribbean countries.

The IPKO opens today, Tuesday, at the First Chamber of the Dutch Parliament, the Senate. The St. Maarten delegation is slated to give a presentation about the current situation on the island and the developments since Hurricane Irma. MP Jacobs will give the presentation with an introduction by Wescot-Williams.

Source: The Daily Herald