Saturday , May 27 2023

Opinion: Daily Herald fears that the Kingdom is at risk

In their editorial today, the Daily herald fears that the coming weeks and months could prove pivotal regarding the future of the Dutch Kingdom, starting with the handling of the so-called “Bosman Law” by the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament in The Hague (see Saturday edition). This proposal to regulate the admittance of persons coming from St. Maarten, Curaçao and Aruba as residents in the Netherlands is seen as discriminatory and divisive. After all, just like those born in the European part of the kingdom, it involves full-fl edged Dutch passport-holders. The reasoning is that conditioning their access to live in the Netherlands practically turns them into second-class citizens.
Proponents of the idea argue that the islands always had restrictions for European Dutchmen to establish themselves there, so it’s a question if reciprocity. However, there is vast difference in scale and the matter still concerns the relationship between a former coloniser and its colonies, even though it regards three so -called autonomous countries. International practice and history show that the latter must be taken into account.
An additional problem is that the new rules also would apply to settling in the three special overseas public entities Bonaire. St. Eustatius and Saba (the BES islands), while people of the – since dismantled – Netherlands
Antilles traditionally have been able to move freely among all the islands.
Then there’s the call for another referendum in Bonaire reported in today’s paper, backed by a unanimous motion of the Island Council. Also because Kralendijk functions as sort of the centre of national administration for the Caribbean Netherlands, the fi nal outcome of such an exercise could very well have an impact on Saba and Statia too. At the same time, the three public entities just signed Terms of Reference for the evaluation of their current status in 2015. One can’t but help wonder what a possible referendum in Bonaire will mean for that process, especially when it’s not at all clear yet what options are to be voted on and whether these can also be realised, certainly if they require the approval and cooperation of The Hague.
Perhaps not everyone values the long-term existence of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but these developments have the potential to put its continuity directly at risk. The Bosman Law ought not to be allowed and any referendum to change the current ties that went into effect on 10-10-10 should be limited to what is actually achievable.

Here we go again
Opinion: Editorial Daily Herald on potential referendum