The Executive Councils of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba have been asked to give their view on the recently published Caribbean Netherlands evaluation report.
The Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament sent a letter to the Island Governors of the three individual islands on Thursday, with the request to supply a formal reaction on the report before February 1, 2016.
The Kingdom Relations Committee decided last week, based on a proposal of Member of Parliament Wassila Hachchi of the Democratic Party D66, to seek the input of the three islands so their views can be included in a future debate with Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk.
The four reports that are part of the Caribbean Netherlands evaluation of the new constitutional structural, which went into effect per October 10, 2010, were presented to the Commissioners of Constitutional Affairs Clark Abraham of Bonaire, Reginald Zaandam of St. Eustatius and Chris Johnson of Saba on October 12, 2015.
The Kingdom Relations Committee wants a separate debate with Minister Plasterk on the findings of Caribbean Netherlands Evaluation Committee headed by former Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Liesbeth Spies. This debate will take place in the first half of 2016, after the Dutch Government has submitted its formal response to the evaluation reports.
The overall findings of the evaluation were not very positive, even though some good things have been achieved, primarily in healthcare and education. Generally, the people and the local government representatives have been disappointed in the execution of the Dutch public entity status.
Disappointment predominates on the islands, mainly caused by the high expectations that have not materialised for the most part. Poverty is greater than ever. “After five years, the balance is not favourable,” concluded the Committee which expressed the desire that the evaluation results would create an incentive to bring the original objectives of the constitutional change closer in the coming years.
The Kingdom Relations Committee has set November 26, 2015, as the date to submit written questions about the evaluation reports. These questions will then be submitted to Minister Plasterk for answering.
A general debate with Plasterk on issues relating to the Caribbean Netherlands has been scheduled for December 10, 2015. On the agenda will be, among others, the higher supervision on St. Eustatius, the double taxation of goods that are imported in St. Eustatius and Saba from St. Maarten, and the inadequate budget of the National Ombudsman.
A formal reaction must be approved by the Island Council. I hope the Executive Councils will ask this time approval and perhaps extra input from their Island Council. As I understood will the citizens of Saba also be asked and that is of course the best thing to do. Still it is the Island Council that must decide finally about the lettre. At least this is what the Dutch Government think is the way off proper governance. But I admit, in The Hague also according the BES Island, they don’t always follow their own rules and they themselves act as if the Island Council of Saba has nothing to do with it.
When I have time I hope to visit the second chamber meeting in December as a person that is still interested in the Island Saba and his inhabitants. I wish you all the best.
This is exactly what’s wrong with the process. We asked “permission” to have a say, it should be a given that we would have a input and that our input would weigh the heaviest.
Is the evaluation report available in English and if not where can I get more information about it? Everybody was anxiously waiting for it…and now nobody says something about it? I really would love to learn more about the conclusions.
Barbara, follow the link below and you will find the links to the reports at the bottom of that article.