Monday , February 26 2024

Opinion: Editorial Daily Herald on potential referendum

The Daily Herald published the following opinion. With the agreed-on five-year evaluation of the new constitutional relations within the Dutch Kingdom per 10-10-10 due in 2015, particularly politicians on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean have started discussing what may be the final outcome of this exercise. The topic also is bound to come up during the biannual inter-parliamentary kingdom consultations IPOK this summer, for which St. Maarten, Curaçao and Aruba plan a preparatory tripartite meeting on the latter island in May.

When considering any meaningful changes in the former Antilles, including the three new overseas special public entities of the Netherlands Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba (the BES islands), it should be kept in mind how much time and effort went into realising the current setup. Countless documents were written and meetings held on the constitutional structure since Aruba gained its separate status in 1986 almost three decades ago. It took two referenda on all the other five islands and even one more in Curaçao to reach this point.

Although there undoubtedly have been problems since the reforms went into effect close to four years ago and one certainly can see room for improvement, most residents appeared happy the never-ending debate on the issue was over at least for now. To open up that can of worms again without a really good reason probably would not meet with overwhelming enthusiasm, unless the alternative is much better – and feasible.

That doesn’t seem likely, especially because the government in The Hague will have to give its blessings to anything that entails remaining in the kingdom, which the majority of citizens on all six islands still support also in terms of keeping their Dutch passports. The bottom line is that any major shift in status also would require approval of the respective populations and once again “going back to the people” by consulting the voters.

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