The Dutch Caribbean islands in general and St. Maarten in particular will have an ally in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament with Jorien Wuite of the Democratic Party D66 who took the oath on Wednesday.
She is the first Member of the Second Chamber of St. Maarten descent. “I fully realise that this is a real historic moment and it fills me with pride,” Wuite told The Daily Herald after the installation of the new Second Chamber. She said the swearing in ceremony felt as an “impressive” event which was held under adapted circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the division of the portfolios among the D66 Members of Parliament (MPs), Wuite received Kingdom Relations, arts and culture, and media. Especially the first portfolio is important for the islands with Wuite becoming a member of the Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations.
“I hope to share the Caribbean voice in the Second Chamber with a special passion. Being a member of the Committee for Kingdom Relations, I expect to be able to play a role for the islands that have such a special place in my heart.” She said that the relations in the kingdom were always an “intensive” affair and that this portfolio required special attention.
Participating from St. Maarten in the March 17 elections, Wuite said she showed that it is possible for candidates to take part in the Second Chamber elections. “I hope that this will be an incentive for others that candidates from the islands can participate, even when they are not a resident of the Netherlands.”
After a short, intensive preparation time in the Second Chamber immediately after the elections, Wuite went to St. Maarten for a week to say goodbye and to wrap up things there. Now, back in the Netherlands, she will look for a place to live, but also to create some space and prepare for her new job.
The portfolio division among the D66 MPs was “quite a puzzle,” but Wuite said she was very happy with the end result. She said she would use the coming days to unpack, prepare for her portfolio, getting to know the way things work and the people in the Second Chamber, and getting acquainted with the other MPs.
Asked about the crisis in the Aruba government, which on Tuesday evening resigned, Wuite said that this mainly concerned an internal affair and that as an MP one had to be a bit careful in taking stands on internal matters. She noted that stability was important and that this was a sensitive case.
Wuite will be working with new faces in the Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations since six members of this committee have departed, among them two who were very experienced: André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party and Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP).
Other Committee members who did not return in the new Second Chamber were: Antje Diertens (D66), Chris van Dam of the Christian Democratic Party CDA, Nevin Özütok of the green left party GroenLinks and Stieneke van der Graaf of the Christian Union (CU).
President of Parliament Khadija Arib personally addressed all departing MPs during a farewell ceremony on Tuesday. “Together with Ronald van Raak, you were a close duo in the fight against corruption of certain politicians in the Caribbean. Self-enrichment over the backs of the poor people was unacceptable to you,” said Arib to Bosman.
“You were a famed spokesperson for Kingdom Relations: ever critical and persistent. You formed a special duo with Bosman, always with the drive to make daily life for ordinary people in the entire kingdom better,” Arib said to Van Raak.
The Daily Herald.