The Metrological Law for the Caribbean Netherlands, IJkwet BES 2014, was unanimously approved by the First Chamber of the Dutch Parliament, the Senate, on Tuesday, but not before a broad discussion on the issue of refraining from adopting too much new legislation for the islands. This writes The Daily Herald. The law in question creates a renewed basis for regulations of measure instruments in the Dutch public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. According to Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp, who was present in the Senate for Tuesday’s debate, there was a need for a modernised system of measure units and instruments on the islands.
Senator Quik-Schuijt of the Socialist Party (SP), speaking on behalf of the VVD, CDA, GroenLinks, D66 and ChristianUnion parties in the First Chamber, questioned the necessity of the law proposal taking into consideration that it had been agreed since 2006 that the implementation of new laws and regulations would be kept at a minimum and to only make an exception in urgent, essential cases. Quik-Schuijt referred to the February 2014 advice of the Council of State relating to the upcoming constitutional evaluation. In that advice, the Council emphasized on the need for legislative prudence in the first five years after the islands attained the public entity status and to take the limited absorbing capacity into account. Senator Anne Koning of the Labour Party PvdA said her party fully supported the agreement on legislative prudence.
Kamp said there was an urgency for the law proposal because the situation had become untenable. He explained that the 1956 law that regulates the use of measurement instruments was very much outdated. He said the law had all kinds of stipulations that are not really applicable to the current situation where electronic equipment is used. The concepts and definitions of the 1956 law can’t be used for new equipment and as such there is not proper control, the minister said. Kamp said the Executive Councils supported the implementation of a new Metrological Law and that it would not have an adverse effect on the absorbing capacity of the islands. In fact, he said, the work load would be reduced because fewer measurement instruments would have to be inspected.
Minister Plasterk said it was very important for citizens to be sure that they get what they pay for. “That counts for electricity, water and fuel. It is maybe even more important for the islands than for the Netherlands. Firstly, because these expenses account for a large part of people’s expenditures, and secondly because on a small island the risk is bigger that someone doesn’t sell you the right amount. Plasterk said he was “hell bent” on preventing that colleagues submitted unnecessary legislation for the islands. He said that, as far as he knew, this was the first time that the Rutte II cabinet had initiated a law proposal specifically for the Caribbean Netherlands. “That shows that there is prudence.”