The Daily Herald writes that the law proposal to restrict the registration of people from Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten in the Netherlands will be annulled if the partners in the Kingdom were to agree on a law to regulate the movement of persons within the Kingdom. The initiative taker of the law proposal, Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party, has decided to add an article to his law proposal that will be handled in the Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Safety and Justice this Wednesday. The additional article states that the law, once approved by the Dutch Parliament, would be terminated the moment a Kingdom Law regulating the movement of persons would be implemented, as his law initiative would then become superfluous. All countries in the Kingdom would have to give their consent to this Kingdom Law. Bosman stated in the motivation that he recently sent to Parliament that he preferred a Kingdom Law that regulated the movement of persons between the different countries of the Kingdom based on the principle of free traffic. “However, until now, it has not proven possible to realise a Kingdom Law. Several attempts have been made to come to a joint arrangement, but this has not resulted in a regulation. Such a regulation is not in sight in the foreseeable time,” Bosman stated.
“This means that national legislation in the different countries is the maximum that is viable. A unilateral regulation is the alternative in order to regulate the registration in the Netherlands,” he stated. Bosman stated in the document that he sent along with the elaborate answers to the long list of clarifying questions of the different parties in Parliament that he didn’t expect that the Dutch Caribbean countries would risk the cooperation within the Kingdom over this legislation proposal. The Member of Parliament (MP) said he was “disappointed” in the “strong denouncement” of the Parliament of St. Maarten to his initiative law proposal. He said that he had hoped for more comprehension for the need of a law to regulate the registration of people from the Dutch Caribbean countries. He pointed out that St. Maarten, as do the other three overseas countries, also had its own admittance and expulsion law, the LTU, which makes a differentiation between the different Dutch citizens based on their country of origin. St. Maarten’s strong response, however, doesn’t give Bosman any reason to adapt his law proposal. “As I have stated before, the proposal remains within the borders of the international law and the Kingdom Charter. The charter leaves juridical room to restrict the registration of Dutch citizens between the various countries of the Kingdom.” According to Bosman, all citizens in the Kingdom are equal “in the sense that every citizen has the guaranteed right of residency in one of the countries of the Kingdom.” The MP distanced himself from the suggestion of the Consultative Body for Dutch Caribbean people OCaN that the law proposal was racist. “No differentiation is made based on race, but based on the country of origin.”
Bosman agreed that his law proposal differentiated between the different Dutch citizens. However, this could not be prevented for a residency regulation for the people of the various countries of the Kingdom because there is one Dutch nationality. The MP explained that the people from the islands who currently reside in the Netherlands, as well as those that come to the Netherlands to work or study, would be exempted. His law proposal doesn’t aim to solve the existing integration problems of Dutch Caribbean people. There are already integration programmes in place at a municipal level of this group. “The regulation serves to make people from the Dutch Caribbean countries aware that they must have a clear idea on their future in the Netherlands before they migrate. It also makes it possible to return people who are a danger to public order and national safety to their country of origin. Such a regulation cannot be realised through other measures,” he stated.
Responding to the question of the Labour party PvdA whether there were possibilities to improve the opportunities and circumstances of people on the islands, Bosman stated that the countries were responsible for the general development of their people and the combating of poverty. As such, he saw few possibilities of improving the perspective of people on the islands. Poverty and lack of perspective are important motivations to move to the Netherlands. Bosman said he had spoken with many colleague parliamentarians of the different countries in the Kingdom, between 2010 and 2012, about the ambition of the Rutte I Cabinet to realise a Kingdom Law Movement of Persons. He sent his law proposal to the Ministers Plenipotentiary and OCaN. All have voiced their objections. According to Bosman, the Ministers Plenipotentiary admitted that there were problems with Dutch Caribbean people in the Netherlands. They were also aware of the differentiation that the countries make regarding European Dutch citizens. However, the Ministers Plenipotentiary see the restriction of the residency in the Netherlands as a detriment to people’s right to free residency. Bosman added that he was scheduling appointments with the Ministers Plenipotentiary to discuss the law proposal.