Tuesday , October 24 2017

“Brighter Path” objects to evaluation committee

The Daily Herald writes that Brighter Path Foundation (BPF) objects to the composition of the evaluation committee, which is to supervise the evaluation of the new constitutional status for the Dutch public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. BPF is disturbed by the fact that no persons from Saba and Statia have been appointed to the committee.

The committee consists of former Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Liesbeth Spies, professor emeritus of public international law Fred Soons, Dean of the University of Aruba and former Bonaire Island Governor Glenn Thodé, constitutional law professor and Council of State member Luc Verhey and former state secretary of Finance Frans Weekers. After its composition was approved by the Council of Ministers, the evaluation committee was installed by Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk on Monday.

BPF believes that the persons appointed to the committee do not have enough political and cultural knowledge as it relates to the dynamics within the respective islands to execute their jobs effectively, it stated Tuesday. “Would The Hague install a committee consisting of predominantly Belgian nationals to assess the needs of Dutch citizens? We think not,” stated BPF. BPF acknowledged the fact that persons appointed to the committee are quite knowledgeable in kingdom affairs and international law, but maintained that the evaluation would be flawed if qualified locals were not part of the committee. “One should never underestimate the expertise and wisdom of the local people,” BPF said. It is, therefore, appealing to local representatives on the three islands to collectively demand the establishment of a more representative committee, which is to evaluate how the new constitutional relations of the Caribbean Netherlands are working out for the three islands.

The committee is to present a report to the minister and the public entities no later than November 10, 2015, five years after the islands became part of the Netherlands. BPF cautioned against the possibilities of an unreliable outcome, in addition to growing dissatisfaction within the local communities, if changes were not made to the committee’s composition. BPF added that the unilateral establishment of committees and the unilateral application of laws by The Hague were examples of the inherent characteristics of the so-called BES structure. “Further integration into the Netherlands would be a total disaster for the islands,” BPF stated in maintaining that the outcome of the constitutional referendum scheduled to take place in Statia must serve as input for the evaluation. “BPF knows that entities in The Hague disagree with this approach, but the question remains how they can evaluate something without hearing from the people first.”

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