Wednesday , November 29 2023

Committee wants debates on social minimum, Statia process

The Permanent Committee for Kingdom Rela­tions of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament decided on Wednesday that it wants two separate debates about the social minimum in the Caribbean Neth­erlands, and the progress to ter­minate governmental interven­tion in St. Eustatius.

The committee came together in a procedural meeting for the first time since the March 17 elections. The meeting was held digitally due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The com­mittee has a lot of new members, most of whom attended the vir­tual meeting, including two mem­bers of Caribbean descent, Jorien Wuite of the Democratic Party D66 and Sylvana Simons of the BIJ1 party.

Apart from Wuite and Simons, present were the new committee members Aukje de Vries of the liberal democratic party VVD, Inge van Dijk of the Christian Democratic Party CDA, Renske Leijtens of the Socialist Party (SP), Laura Bromet of the green left party GroenLinks, Don Ced­er of the Christian Union (CU) and Derk Jan Eppink of the JA21 party.

The only two members who sat in the committee in the previous term who attended Wednesday’s pro­cedural meeting were Attje Kuiken of the Labour Party PvdA and Tunahan Kuzu of the DENK party.

Member of the Second Chamber Jorien Wuite of the Democratic Party D66 during the digital procedural meeting of the Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations on Wednesday.

Wuite made use of the agenda point, which was a letter of the Dutch gov­ernment with regard to the route-timetable for restor­ing democracy and ending Dutch intervention in St. Eustatius, to request a sep­arate debate with caretaker State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Rela­tions Raymond Knops.

The objective of this two-hour debate, which should take place after the May re­cess, is to discuss the prog­ress to gradually return to a complete recovery of de­mocracy in St. Eustatius. Wuite said the Dutch inter­vention, which was initiated in February 2018, had been drastic and it was important to discuss this subject with the state secretary.

Wuite received support from many committee members, including Ceder, Simons, Kuzu, Leij tens, Kuiken, Bromet and Van Dijk. Kuiken’s proposal to ask the Statia Island Coun­cil for its vision on the pro­cess to restore democracy and to end the intervention received broad support as well.

At the request of Kuiken, another separate debate will be held after the May recess about the process of establishing a social mini­mum for Bonaire, St. Eu­statius and Saba. Besides State Secretary Knops, invited will be Minister of Social Affairs and Labour Wouter Koohnees and State Secretary of Eco­nomic Affairs and Climate Mona Keijzer.

According to Kuiken, it is important that State Secre­tary Keijzer is also present at this debate, because es­tablishing the social mini­mum is not only about rais­ing the income of people on the three islands, but is also to reduce the expenditures to make the cost of living more affordable. Several debates have already taken place in the Second Chamber about establishing a social minimum for the Caribbean Netherlands.

The committee will also have a general debate with State Secretary Knops after the May recess to discuss a range of topics, including the COVID-19 situation in the Dutch Caribbean and the related assistance, the liquidity support and the associated country pack­ages for Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten, and the St. Maarten Pointe Blanche prison.

The committee further adopted an invitation of the Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS) of the Netherlands to give a tech­nical briefing on the CBS monitoring report “Broad Well-being of the Carib­bean Netherlands”. Com­missioners of Bonaire and Saba will be invited to participate digitally in this briefing, as well as the act­ing government commis­sioner of St. Eustatius.

In addition, the commit­tee accepted an invitation of State Secretary Knops to have civil servants of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK provide two techni­cal briefings, one about the Dutch Caribbean countries and the other about the Ca­ribbean Netherlands. Topics for these briefings could include the COVID-19 support, the reconstruction of the Windward Islands, relations with The Hague and constitutional relations in general.

The Daily Herald.

Town hall meeting on the status of Saba's volcano was very well attended
Saba prepared to assist those in need in St. Vincent

One comment

  1. If you would look at the costs of all visits of Knops and accompanying civil servants, only the plane trip costs more than 200,000 euros. And there are far more other costs. Every time.
    From this money, how many poor people could have gotten a higher income?
    Again, being in the sun is more important for these Flying Dutchmen than helping other people.