THE HAGUE–Despite objections of the St. Eustatius Government, the process to embed the constitutional basis for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba in the Constitution is moving on. The handling will proceed in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament next week Tuesday.
The handling of the law proposal to amend the Dutch Constitution in the second reading will take place during a plenary debate on Tuesday right away on the first day after Parliament’s two-month summer recess.
The amendment not only secures a constitutional basis for the Caribbean Netherlands, but also establishes an Electoral Council (“Kiescollege”) for the First Chamber of the Dutch Parliament which enables eligible voters on the islands to indirectly vote for the Senate in 2019.
Two readings and approval by two subsequent Parliaments are needed to make an amendment to the Constitution. The first reading of the amendment of the Constitution was concluded with the publication in the National Gazette on November 14, 2016.
The First Chamber of the Dutch Parliament approved the law proposal in the first reading on October 25, 2016. The Second Chamber had already approved the original law proposal in October 2012. In March 2017, the law proposal was sent to the Second Chamber for the handling of the second reading.
The constitutional status of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba was already secured in an amendment of the Kingdom Charter at the time the Netherlands Antilles was dismantled, but that change had not been formalised in the Dutch Constitution.
The proposal to amend the Constitution does not define the public entity status as the final model for the three islands, Minister Plasterk confirmed in the plenary meeting with the Senate in October last year.
The current St. Eustatius Government has vehemently objected to the amending of the Constitution to embed the constitutional basis of the Caribbean Netherlands. According to the Statia Government, the amending of the Constitution was not in line with the desires of the governing Statia coalition to seek more autonomy for the island.