The Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament will urge Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk to have all preparatory documentation for the evaluation in the Caribbean Netherlands ready for a general debate on March 13, 2014. This writes The Daily Herald. The Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Home Affairs discussed the pending evaluation of the coordination of the tasks of the Dutch Government on or on behalf of the public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba during a procedural meeting on Thursday. On the agenda was the February 7, 2014, letter of minister Plasterk about the evaluation of the coordination national government tasks in which he clarified the actions that he had taken after he was confronted with the serious mishaps in the coordination of the tasks of the Dutch Government on and for the islands.
The minister sent the critical report of the Inspection, Signalling and Coaching ISB, an independent unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to Parliament following publications in the media about this report on February 7. The ISB report was ready in November last year, but the minister didn’t send it to Parliament at that time. In his letter Plasterk explained that the ISB report was the first step in the evaluation process and that the second step would be the report of the Committee Small Evaluation Caribbean Netherlands of which Saba Island Governor Jonathan Johnson is a member. The report of this committee should be ready in the second half of March.
The Permanent Committee of Home Affairs is concerned that the committee’s report along with a reaction of the Dutch Government might not be ready in time for the general debate with Plasterk on March 13.
Liberal democratic VVD party Member of Parliament (MP) Pieter Litjens suggested waiting for all documentation before putting the evaluation on the agenda of the March 13 debate. He said the ISB report was “not the whole story.” He said it was important to wait for the Committee’s report and the input of the islands. “Not doing so would not be respectful towards the islands,” said Litjens.
MPs Gerard Schouw of the Democratic Party D66 and Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP) said the ISB report was a “highly critical” report which made it urgent to discuss this with the minister, with or without having all documentation. “It is quite a dramatic report that needs to be discussed with the minister. There is urgency,” said Schouw. Van Raak said the fact that the report had not been released to Parliament until after media had written about it made it extra urgent to have a debate with the minister on short notice. “This is a serious issue,” he said. Van Raak tried to convince his colleagues of the other parties to even have a debate with the minister on this matter prior to March 13.
Committee Chairlady Magda Berndsen said organising a debate with Plasterk before March 13 would not be possible because of planning issues and the pending spring recess. The Committee agreed with Berndsen’s proposal to ask the minister to make an effort to have all documentation ready in time so it can be discussed on March 13.
Also on the agenda of the March 13 debate will be the February 4, 2014, advice of the Council of State (Raad van State) on the 2015 evaluation of the constitutional status of the public entities as well as the appointment of Edison Enrique Rijna as Acting Island Governor of Bonaire per March 1.