The Daily Herald writes that a delegation of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament will arrive on St. Maarten on January 2 for a three-day visit to the Windward Islands, after which they will travel to the other Dutch Caribbean islands. The main reason for going to the Dutch Caribbean is the Inter-Parliamentary Consultation of the Kingdom, or the IPKO as it is also called, in Curaçao from January 7 to 10. Parliament Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations decided to use the opportunity to also pay a visit to the other five islands.
The eight-member delegation will be headed by Committee Chairman Jeroen Recourt. The other delegation members are: André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party, Roelof van Laar of the Labour Party PvdA, Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP), Wassila Hachchi of the Democratic Party D66, Madeleine van Toorenburg of the Christian Democratic Party CDA and Gert-Jan Segers of the ChristianUnion. Committee Registrar Tim de Lange will also be part of the delegation.
Sietse Fritsma of the Party for Freedom PVV will not take part in the 9-day trip to the Dutch Caribbean. “I will not go along because I find such an expensive trip inappropriate, especially in times of crisis. Politicians go to the Caribbean, stay in expensive hotels and take part in big dinners while the Dutch citizen, who has to pay for all of this, can’t afford any luxury,” Fritsma told The Daily Herald. Fritsma considers participating in the IPKO a wasted effort. “All IPKO’s have proven that nothing is achieved where it comes to problems like corruption and squandering of tax payers money,” he said. According to Fritsma, IPKO takes place in an atmosphere of inequality. “The former Netherlands Antilles have a big say in how to give content to the ties with the Netherlands. The Dutch people, on the other hand, have nothing to say because of the United Nations Charter which says that we cannot say farewell to the islands. This is of course a bad fundament for a consultation of the Parliaments,” he said.
The Committee will go to St. Eustatius on January 3 for a few hours to meet with government officials and members of the community. On that same day, they will return to St. Maarten for a meeting with Governor Eugene Holiday and Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams.
On January 4 the delegation will be in Saba where they will meet with government officials as well as members of the community before continuing their journey to Curaçao. On January 6 the delegation will visit Bonaire. On January 11, after the IPKO has finished, the delegation will go to Aruba for one day from where they will return to the Netherlands.
The First Chamber will only take part in the IPKO and will not join the Second Chamber to the other five islands. Five Members of the First Chamber will take part in the IPKO. The delegation will be headed by Committee Chairlady Marijke Linthorst.