The Daily Herald writes that the quality of education on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba is of such serious concern to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament that it has decided to have a meeting with the responsible State Secretary Sander Dekker. Dekker was called to Parliament last week Tuesday to answer questions of Member of Parliament (MP) Roelof van Laar of the Labour Party PvdA about the shocking exam results on Bonaire. The recent report of the Dutch Inspectorate of Education in the Caribbean Netherlands, sent to Parliament last week Friday, has only added to those concerns. Then, there was also the decision taken last week that English would become the sole language of instruction on Statia. The crisis between the board and management of the Saba Comprehensive School was another reason for Van Laar to request a general debate with the State Secretary of Education, Culture and Science, which will take place after the summer recess, on October 15, 2014.|
“There are problems on all islands and we need to discuss these with the state secretary,” said Van Laar during a procedural meeting of the Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations on Wednesday. The committee agreed to ask State Secretary Dekker to further elaborate on the situation of education in the Caribbean Netherlands and broaden the subject to all three islands in the letter that he has already pledged to send to Parliament in relation to the dramatic exam results in Bonaire prior to the debate.
The Kingdom Relations Committee also approved a proposal of MP André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party to convene a general debate with Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk on September 25, 2014, about the Committee for Financial Supervision’s CFT’s approval of a capital loan to construct a new hospital on Curaçao. The Second Chamber has already debated with Plasterk on the decision of the CFT to approve capital loans for Curaçao and St. Maarten now that the countries have complied with the requirements as stated in the Kingdom Law on Financial Supervision. However, Bosman wants to have another debate specifically on the loan for the new hospital and the role of the CFT and the Second Chamber. A request was made by Roelof van Laar to broaden the topic and discuss the supervision carried out by the CFT and the law on financial supervision.
Van Laar further asked for attention to be placed on human trafficking, in his opinion, a serious problem in the Dutch Caribbean that deserves the full attention of all governments in the Kingdom. Human trafficking originally was to be a topic at the Inter-Parliamentary Consultation of the Kingdom IPKO in The Hague early June, but it wasn’t discussed in the end. Van Laar mentioned the recently published Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report 2014 of the United States State Department, which concluded that the islands of the Dutch Caribbean didn’t comply with all minimum norms to combat human trafficking.
The Dutch Parliament is also awaiting a letter of Dutch Minister of Justice and Safety Ivo Opstelten in response to the adopted motion of Van Laar and colleague Gert Jan Segers of the ChristianUnion on the issue of human trafficking in the Dutch Caribbean. Van Laar said in Tuesday’s meeting that there was sufficient material for a general debate of a written consultation with the minister. It was agreed to again discuss this issue after the minister’s letter had been received.