Editorial: More of the focus

The views expressed by former Antillean and Aruban Affairs Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin of CDA during the first George Maduro lecture in the Netherlands  were quite refreshing. Politicians in The Hague spend a lot of time bashing the Dutch Caribbean countries and particularly their governments, but few seem willing to seriously address obvious shortcomings at the kingdom level.

The so-called democratic deficit to which Hirsh Ballin alluded was already discussed at various Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultations, but so far it has remained mostly talk. As he sees it, the Kingdom Charter amended in 2010 actually requires a Kingdom Parliament.

Of course, the prospect of yet another legislative body with secretariat and associated expenses, including having members fly back and forth across the Atlantic, is not exactly an attractive one. However, if done as a simple addition to the Dutch Parliament with delegates from Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten when handling kingdom matters, the additional cost might be reasonable.

For now there certainly should be a Constitutional Dispute Regulation as specifically mentioned in Article 12a of the Charter. Hirsch Ballin said one does not exclude the other, but lacking both is no longer defendable.

He also confirmed that the possibility to restrict migration by people from the islands to the Netherlands is very limited because they are not only Dutch, but also European Union (EU) citizens. Hopefully those who keep trying to do so will finally get the picture.

In any case the lecturer’s message to concentrate on what binds rather than what divides the Kingdom of the Netherlands on both sides of the ocean is well taken. The current relationship, while it undoubtedly presents challenges, offers much opportunity too and that is indeed where more of the focus ought to be.
Source: Daily Herald
More of the focus