Monday , February 26 2024

Pre-emptive strike

The following opinion has been written in the Daily Herald. The Permanent Committee for Kingdom Affairs and Inter- Parliamentary Relations will discuss the so-called “Bosman Law” today, Monday. It’s actually a pity that the elected representatives again have to spend time and energy on the umpteenth attempt by the Netherlands to introduce admittance restrictions for people from the islands, even though they are just as much Dutch citizens as those from the European part of the Kingdom. Despite these earlier failed efforts by, among others, former VVD Minister Rita Verdonk to take similar steps, Bosman has submitted his draft enactment to the Second Chamber in The Hague. The position in the former Netherlands Antilles, but also among Dutch Caribbean people already living in The Netherlands, remains that such a regulation would be discriminatory and in violation of the Kingdom Charter as well as the European Treaty on Human Rights Curaçao’s Parliament has just adopted a unanimous motion against the Bosman initiative and St. Maarten would do well to follow suit. Aruba too has been clear in its rejection of the plan from the start.

Whether all that will be enough to stop the measure remains to be seen, considering that the general idea is part of the VVD/ PvdA coalition’s governing programme and Bosman is of the same VVD party as Prime Minister Mark Rutte. It was stated during the debate in Curaçao that using the reciprocity principle as justification has no validity, because to acquire legal residence on the island, European Dutchmen only need proof of good conduct, suffi cient income and adequate housing. This basically means that if they come on vacation and find a job and place to live, they can stay. But that is precisely the point! If these remaining limitations for people from the Netherlands coming to the Caribbean don’t amount to much anyway, why not get rid of them completely and, with a pre-emptive strike, end once and for all this recurring nightmare of trying to make people from the islands second-class Dutch citizens?

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