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“Terms of Reference” of the Work Group Political Evaluation Dutch Caribbean

On February 28 the first meeting of the Constitutional Workgroup took place on Saba with Commissioner Johnson in the Chair. In a press conference he had already announced that the workgroup had a productive first meeting that morning. He proudly announced the signing of the terms of reference, stressing that the workgroup comprised “equal partners” in outlining the content of the 2015 evaluation and in establishing an independent evaluation commission.

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RCN has now made these “Terms of Reference” available for publication. They read as follows:

Work Group Political Evaluation Dutch Caribbean

“Terms of Reference”


It was agreed in the Final Declaration (Slotverklaring) of the Miniconference on the future political position of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba in October 2006, that the result of the new political structure would be jointly evaluated by the Netherlands and the three islands, five year after the transition. In this regard, evaluation terms were included in art. 239 of the Law on public entities Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba (Wet openbare lichamen Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba – WolBES) and art. 102 of the Law on public finance Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba (Wet Financiën openbare lichamen Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba – FinBES). The public entities are co-principals of the evaluation, as an expression of equality, as agreed in the administrative consultation on financial ratios of the CN week in March 2013.

During the administrative consultation of October 31st, 2013 the minister of Internal Affairs and Kingdom Relations (Binnenlandse zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties – BZK) and the directors of public entities Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba agreed to establish a work group for the delimitation of the evaluation scope. The agreements made during the administrative consultation are annex of this “Terms of Reference”.

Task description and end product of the work Group

The work group’s task is to formulate an evaluation assignment and to propose an independent evaluation commission, which will be established on a date that is yet to be appointed during an administrative consultation between the minister of BZK and the members of government of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba.

The work Group makes suggestions for the independent evaluation commission. The evaluation commission will put together its own support based on its own needs and based on expertise and experience. The ministry of Internal Affairs and Kingdom Affairs is responsible for the financing of the commission, its support and the required research for the evaluation. The work group will act as an advisory commission for the evaluation commission. The evaluation commission will provide periodic reports to the work group.

The evaluation assignment will be determined and sent to both Chambers of the General Parliament (Staten-Generaal) and island councils no later than June 2014. The work group formulates the objective and the main questions of the evaluation to come to an evaluation assignment. The evaluation assignment will include at least the following agreements:

  • The agreements made in “Slotverklaring of the Miniconference about the future political status of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba” in October 2006 on the evaluation of the new political structure and the gradual replacement of the (former) Dutch Antillean legislation by Dutch legislation.
  • The agreed starting points for an acceptable amenities level in the areas of education, health, social security and safety in the administrative consultation of January 31, 2008 at Den Haag, as well as the subsequent cabinet’s position regarding the public entities that were sent to the Chambers of the General Parliament.
  • The parliamentary commitment that will be involved in the evaluation to the extent to which it is desirable and feasible to implement the Dutch (European) law in the Dutch Caribbean[1].
  • The advice of the State Council, in its information of September 18, 2006, on the reform of the political relations of the Antillean islands within the Kingdom[2], to also review in the evaluation if “the interests of the population are being guaranteed and if the collaboration is achieving its objectives in the new relations”[3].

If the work group considers it desirable it may also formulate suggestions for the set up, other than the objectives and the central (research) questions.

The evaluation assignment that the work group provides will be established and sent to the General Parliament and the islands councils during the Administrative Consultation with the minister of BZK in the CN week of June 2014.

Composition of the work group

The work group consists of the 3 commissioners on constitutional affairs and island secretaries, the Secretary General of BZK or its replacement, as Chairman of the CN table, the project manager and the secretary of the project evaluation Dutch Caribbean. If necessary, the work group may be extended with experts.

Mr. R. van Zwol, General Secretary BZK;
Mr. D.J. Bonnet, evaluation project manager;
Ms. M. van Tintelen, evaluation secretary, secretary;
Mr. E. Winklaar, commissioner of Bonaire;
Ms. N. Gonzalez, island secretary of Bonaire;
Mr. R. Zaandam, commissioner of Sint Eustatius;
Ms. A. Marsdin, acting island secretary of Sint Eustatius;
Mr. C. Johnson, commissioner of Saba;
Mr. M. van der Velde, island secretary of Saba;

Work method

The work group determines its own work method and elects a chairman from among its members. The number of meetings of the work group is still determined at four with subsequent determination of the evaluation assignment in the Executive Consultation (Bestuurlijk Overleg – Bofv) in the CN week in June 2014. The meetings last, including the preparatory meeting, approximately one and a half to two days and will take place on two consecutive days. It was decided that the meetings will take place on different islands. This has led to the following indicative meeting schedule:

  • 1st meeting: Thursday 27th and Friday 28th on Saba;
  • 2nd meeting: 14th and 15th of April on Bonaire;
  • 3rd meeting: 26th and 27th May on Sint Eustatius;
  • 4th meeting: Thursday 12th and Friday 13th of June in Den Haag.

If the progress of the works so requires this, the number of meetings may be restricted or expanded. Optionally, a video conference may be held or any of the meetings can be converted in a video conference.

The (draft) agenda and other documents will be sent no later than two weeks before the meeting by email by the secretary. Each member of the work group can freely contribute with documents and topics for the agenda. The secretary of the work group is responsible for the reporting of the meetings.

Reimbursement of travel and subsistence costs

The ministry of BZK reimburses the travel and accommodation costs for all members of the work group. Among the expenses are airfare and any taxi fares. Members of the work group must book their own tickets and hotel, the costs will be reimbursed by BZK on presentation of an account based on the travel decree of the ministry of Internal Affairs. BZK offers lunch and a diner during the work group as part of the work group meeting. For any additional meals connected to the meeting of the work group, a reimbursement can be requested from the Internal Travel Decree (Reisbesluit Binnenland) of the ministry of Internal Affairs on presentation of an account.

For approval: February 28, 2014, The Bottom, Saba.



Mr. C. Johnson

Commissioner of Saba



Mr. E. Winklaar

Commissioner of Bonaire



Mr. R. Zaandam

Commissioner of Sint Eustatius



Mr. R. van Zwol

General Secretary Ministry Internal Affairs and Kingdom Relations

[1] Note on the Report, Chamber documents II, 2009-2010, nr. 6, par. 4.

[2] Attachment to the Chamber documents II 2006/07, 30 800 IV, nr 3 (information) and nr. 4 (reaction).

[3] Chamber documents II 2006/07, 30 800 IV, nr 3, page 11.

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