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St. Maarten position on Bosman law imminent

FRIDAY, 13 DECEMBER 2013

THE HAGUE–The government of St. Maarten will shortly publish its position on the law proposal to restrict the registration of people from Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten in the Netherlands.

Justice Minister Dennis Richardson announced this during a gathering of the Movement to Promote the Participation of Antillean and Aruban people in the Netherlands MAAP in The Hague on Thursday evening.

MAAPP had convened a meeting with representatives of the Dutch Caribbean community councils in the Netherlands and other interested persons to discuss the initiative law of Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party.

The law proposal serves to keep poorly educated, deprived people from the three overseas countries out of the Netherlands by implementing a residency permit system. People from the islands would have to comply with a series of conditions before they could obtain a residency permit with which they could register at a municipality in the Netherlands. Dutch Caribbean organisations have vehemently objected to the law proposal, calling it ethnic profiling and against international human rights laws.

St. Maarten’s formal response to this law proposal will definitely be one of rejection, said Richardson, whose ministry is preparing the vision of government in reply to the Bosman law initiative. “It will be devastating,” he said. The Parliament of St. Maarten has already stated its objections to the law proposal.

Richardson denounced the law proposal in no uncertain words. He called it a “shame” and compared it to the past actions of the South African government to create the homelands to shut out certain groups of the population.

Aruba legislation specialist Mito Croes, who has vast knowledge of constitutional and European laws, was the guest speaker at the MAAPP gathering. He explained why the law proposal would not work. He said that people of the Dutch Caribbean who have the Dutch nationality are citizens of the European Union and, therefore, they have rights that protect them.

Croes said the law, even if it was passed, would not hold up in the Courts because it would go against international human rights treaties. He said the criteria of mass immigration didn’t count because more people were migrating from the Netherlands to the islands than the other way around. He called the initiative law “symbol legislation” because, as he said, it would be too complicated to execute.

Croes doesn’t expect the law to be approved in the Second Chamber. Some parties are squarely against it, while the VVD’s partner in the coalition, the Labour Party PvdA, doesn’t appear to be 100 per cent sure on this issue. Implementing a measure to restrict the free admission of people from the overseas countries of the Kingdom, however, is part of the governing accord of the VVD/PvdA government.

MAAPP Chairman Yazir Francisca said the Dutch Caribbean community has to stay alert and be ready to mobilise when the law proposal is handled in the Second Chamber early next year. The MAAPP has already sent a resolution to the Parliaments of the three overseas countries to indicate their objections and will continue to organise sessions such as the one on Thursday. “We will continue to think along strategically,” he said.

Mito Croes called on the Dutch Caribbean countries to be more reactive on issues such as these that threaten the existence of the Kingdom. “We should see the Kingdom more as a strategic partnership. We have to create a win-win situation for all countries and create more bearing surface for the Kingdom. That will put an end to the discussion of closing the borders for our people,” he said.

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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