Thankfully, a majority of the fractions in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament rejected the idea floated by the liberal democratic VVD and Socialist Party (SP) for a commonwealth with St. Maarten, Aruba and Curaçao as independent countries (see related article). It was pointed out correctly that the right of self-determination recognised by the United Nations (UN) in principle lies with the islands, not the Netherlands.
None of the three territories has called for independence officially, and historically it is up to the colonised rather than the coloniser to opt for changes in that relationship. In addition, a five-year evaluation of the current constitutional structure within the kingdom that went into effect on 10-10-10 was agreed on and is scheduled for 2015, so the proposal is premature if nothing else.
Although the argument that the Netherlands also can take the initiative in discussions on this matter has some merit, in the end it regards the wellbeing of the much smaller and therefore more vulnerable entities in the Caribbean. This vast difference in scale and therefore the balance of power should always be taken into account.
That VVD and SP want to get rid of the guarantee function of the Kingdom Council of Ministers because they don’t agree with the reactions from the islands when applying such is like a teacher walking out of the classroom just because his students dare question him. It also can be compared to a captain abandoning ship before his passengers and crew.
After all, the fact that the Dutch cabinet – complemented with one Plenipotentiary minister each of Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten – was given this ultimate authority presumes a certain level of maturity and sense of fairness among the public administrators and legislators in The Hague. Perhaps the two parliamentarians involved believe the political establishment in the Netherlands is no longer able to live up to those expectations, which of course would be a huge disqualification of both themselves and their colleagues.