Defence Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert rejected the idea of changing the manner in which the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard is funded so Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten would have to pay a bigger part (see related story). She advised against two motions to that effect from Freedom Party PVV Member of Parliament (MP) Raymond de Roon.
The latter’s argument was that The Hague covers some 70 per cent of the operational expenses, which comes to more than 80 per cent when air reconnaissance by and use of Dutch armed forces are added. This may be true, but does not take into account that some of the money ends up in the European part of the kingdom’s economy.
In addition, as the Minister stated, there is a Kingdom Charter and agreements were made beforehand on sharing the cost of the Coast Guard that serves not only the islands, including overseas territories of the Netherlands Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba (the BES islands), but also the national interests of the Dutch Kingdom as a whole. The joint drug interdiction missions in the region together with the Americans and others are a good example of that.
While PPV’s voters obviously live in the Netherlands, the opposition party’s leadership ought to at least try to take a broader view and realise that the kingdom consists of more than what is commonly called Holland alone. Hennis-Plasschaert clearly understands this and stood her ground, for which she deserves credit.
Source: Daily Herald
More than Holland alone