UN stays out of Kingdom debate

09 MAY 2017

THE HAGUE--The Netherlands, Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten have to make their own decision where it comes to giving content to the mutual relations within the Dutch Kingdom.
This was the message that a Dutch ministerial delegation received from the United Nations (UN) Decolonisation Committee during a recent visit to New York. According to sources, the delegation was headed by the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK Richard van Zwol.

“The UN is not getting involved in this matter and doesn’t feel the need to tell us what to do,” said Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk in a recent interview with the Trouw newspaper.

According to the Minister, the delegation was informed what was already known, namely that Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten can decide to leave the Kingdom, but that the Netherlands as the former colonising country cannot unilaterally decide to end the relation with the Dutch Caribbean countries. “That is not what we want either,” said Plasterk, who made clear that he was in favour of the current structure of the Kingdom.

The Dutch delegation was made to understand that the UN wouldn’t execute permanent supervision if it was decided within the Kingdom to start talks about changing the current constitutional relations, including the option of independence. According to the UN, it is up to the countries themselves to give content to the relations.

The visit to the UN was the result of a motion of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament in October last year during the handling of the 2017 Kingdom Relations budget submitted by Members of Parliament (MPs) André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party and Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP).

The motion requested that the Dutch Government seek information from the UN about the possibilities to terminate the decolonisation process. The motion fitted in the position paper of Bosman and Van Raak to turn the Kingdom structure into a commonwealth with a [more – Ed.] independent status for the Dutch Caribbean countries.
The motion was sent to the Parliaments of Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten. A letter from Minister Plasterk to the Second Chamber is expected soon.

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten