Dutch caretaker Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Liesbeth Spies said on Thursday that she was disappointed about the decision of the future
coalition partners, the conservative VVD party and the Labour Party PvdA to scrap the ten million euros for nature management and sustainable development in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.
The Minister said it was “exceptionally sour” and she felt “a bit foolish” when she had to inform the visiting delegations from the Dutch public entities earlier
this month that a majority of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament had decided to spend the 10 million otherwise. She stated this during the handling
of the draft 2013 budget of Kingdom Relations in the second Chamber on Thursday.
Spies said that after the 10 M became available following the signing of the Spring Accord in May this year between the VVD, D66, GroenLinks and CDA
parties, The Hague entered serious consultations with the local government on the islands to get moving on drafting a programme that “justified a noteworthy spending” of the funds. In anticipation of forming a new cabinet, the VVD and PvdA agreed on October 1, to redirect 155 million euros reserved for sustainable development in the draft 2013 budget, including the10 million euros for the islands, and use these funds to compensate other measures in the part agreement (deelakkoord). Spies said that she duly respected the changed political relations after the September 12 Dutch elections and that the Second
Chamber was fully within its right to deviate from the decision. But the move to cancel the 10 million euros was an “ugly disappointment” for the islands and
may very well have “put a dent” in the relations with the public entities, she added.
Member of the Second Chamber Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP) said the Minister was in her right to be annoyed with Parliament. He repeated
his earlier request to use the some US $5 million surplus of collected taxes on the islands to invest in nature management and sustainable development.
“Does the Minister see a possibility to reinvest those additional revenues so we can at least come true on a part of our promise,” asked Van Raak.
However, a decision has already been taken on what to do with the US $5 million in additional tax revenues, said Spies. She explained that the island delegations had made a package deal with caretaker State Secretary of Finance Frans Weekers to reinvest the US $5 million in tax compensation measures on the public entities. “There was no room to compensate part of or the entire 10 million euros,” said the Minister.
Source: The Daily Herald, October 27, 2012