Wednesday , February 28 2024

Motion to set social minimum rejected

As expected, a majority of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Tuesday voted down the motion of Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party(SP) and Nevin Özütok of the green left party GroenLinks, to set a social minimum for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba without delay.

The three parties, the Democratic Party D66, Christian Democratic Party CDA and ChristianUnion CU, which two years ago supported the first, simi­lar motion of Van Raak, at that time submitted with Roelof van Laar of the La­bour Party PvdA, now voted against. The difference: two years ago these parties were in the opposition and now they are part of the govern­ing coalition with the liberal democratic VVD party, which is not in favour of set­ting a social minimum.

Several opposition par­ties, including the Party for Freedom PVV, also voted against the SP/GroenLinks motion, which Van Raak tabled last week Wednesday during a continued debate about the establishing of a social minimum, a bench­mark that is an important tool to alleviate the increas­ing poverty in the Carib­bean Netherlands.

Van Raak in his response to the rejected motion accused the Dutch government of breaking an agreement, namely the execution of the adopted 2016 Van Raak/Van Laar motion, and the earlier promise that it would make things better for the people on the islands.

“We often accuse politi­cians on the islands that they do not keep their part of the agreement, but now we are doing the same thing. It is a shame that a rich country like the Netherlands allows poverty to continue to ex­ist in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. That is also bad for the trust of people,” Van Raak told The Daily Herald. The Netherlands does have a social minimum.

In the motion, Van Raak and Özütok reminded the Dutch government that the Second Chamber had asked to set a social minimum for the islands, based on the cost of living. The motion requested government to execute this request. Authorities on all three is­lands have condemned the decision of the Dutch gov­ernment not to set a social minimum for now.

The Second Chamber on Tuesday adopted the four motions that were submit­ted and co-signed by the CDA, VVD, D66 and CU in which the Dutch govern­ment was requested to take a number of measures to help alleviate poverty in the Caribbean Netherlands. Member of Parliament (MP) Joba van den Berg (CDA) presented a motion last week Wednesday asking government to draft a multi-annual, integral ac­tion plan aimed at fighting poverty and improving liv­ing conditions, to increase self-supporting activities of the islands such as agricul­ture, infrastructure and en­ergy, while supporting good governance and solid finan­cial management. Van den Berg said it was important to give people perspective. MP Stieneke van der Graaf (CU) with her motion sought to move the Dutch government to indicate in 2019 what steps would need to be taken to reach the so­cial minimum norms and to give content to the earlier pledge that the social mini­mum norms would serve as a “dot on the horizon.” Acknowledging that pov­erty was a real problem on the islands, Van der Graaf said that her party wanted to work towards setting the norm for a social minimum.

MP Antje Diertens (D66) presented two mo­tions. One motion sought to strengthen the quality of child care and to make this broadly accessible on the islands. The other mo­tion asked the Dutch gov­ernment to help the public entities to professionalise the execution of policies re­garding poverty eradication and the assistance provided to people who had taken on considerable debt because they didn’t earn enough to pay the bills. Diertens said it was important to take measures now and not in 2020 as the government had originally intended.

The Daily Herald.

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