Talks with St. Maarten not timely, says Knops | THE DAILY HERALD

THE HAGUE–Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops is of the opinion that discussing the proposal of a temporary take-over of law enforcement in St. Maarten is not opportune in light of the upcoming elections.

  The Minister explained in his letter to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Wednesday that the St. Maarten government late September decided to call elections. These elections will take place on January 9, 2020.

  “Considering the caretaker status of the current government, I don’t think it is opportune at this moment to initiate talks about this motion,” stated Knops, referring to the motion of Member of the Second Chamber Chris van Dam of the Christian Democratic Party CDA.

  In this motion, which was adopted by the Second Chamber on October 15, the Dutch government was asked to enter into talks with the St. Maarten government about a greater role for The Hague in St. Maarten law enforcement for a period of five years during which the law enforcement system would be strengthened.

  Minister Knops, who already advised against the motion when Van Dam, supported by five other Members of Parliament, presented the motion during the handling of the 2020 Kingdom Relations budget, was not prepared to carry out the motion at this stage.

  “As soon as the elections have taken place and a new government has been installed, I will explore together with the St. Maarten government, as was requested by your Parliament, whether there is sufficient basis to have a talk about the motion,” Knops stated.

  Van Dam’s motion speaks of a division between management and authority, and to see if the Netherlands can play a bigger role in the management side of law and order for five years. According to Van Dam, St. Maarten needs assistance with law and order, in particular the Pointe Blanche prison, the lack of cell capacity and the violation of human rights in the penitentiary.

  Knops advised against the motion because in his opinion it restricts St. Maarten’s autonomy as a country within the Kingdom. Also, the permission would be needed of all four countries in the Kingdom for such a far-reaching measure.

Source: The Daily Herald