13 JANUARY 2017
THE HAGUE/WILLEMSTAD–A positive atmosphere and talks without tension that is how members of the Dutch delegation Jeroen Recourt and André Bosman described the Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultation IPKO that took place in Curaçao this week.
The informal character of this IPKO has had a positive influence and has contributed to creating a comfortable atmosphere where delegations were able to explore each other’s views on the different topics, said Dutch delegation leader and Member of the Second Chamber Recourt, of the Labour Party PvdA, and Member of the Second Chamber Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party. “There was no tension and no issue that cast a dark cloud over the IPKO,” said Recourt.
Prior to the IPKO, which started on Tuesday and will close off with a press conference, today, Friday; it was decided to keep the meetings informal in order to give the new members of the Parliaments a chance to get to know each other. For this reason, this time there will be no so-called decision list either.
“The informal atmosphere contributed to positive talks. We got to know each other better and we were able to discuss the topics in a constructive manner. This was especially the case for the talks on the Kingdom in 2040,” Recourt told The Daily Herald on Thursday.
The IPKO meetings also focused on issues of a procedural nature and discussing the state of affairs regarding topics like the Dispute Regulation for the Kingdom (“geschillenregeling”) and the old age pensions within the Kingdom, the AOV and AOW.
During a meeting of the work group the Kingdom in 2040, the VVD party was able to share its views on the wish for a commonwealth structure to replace the current Kingdom constellation. “We see a commonwealth structure as the future. As the Netherlands we carry the responsibility for the Kingdom, but we have no say in the current construction,” Bosman told this newspaper.
Bosman took keen note of the opening statement of leader of the Curaçao delegation Gisèlle Mc William of the MAN party in which she called for a greater autonomy for Curaçao. “That is a good thing, but it also means that Curaçao has to take concrete action,” Bosman said. He said that logically the commonwealth structure raised various questions regarding the Dutch passport, nationality and the status of independence.
The delegations spoke about the status of the Dispute Regulation in the legislation process. There are two proposals for a Dispute Regulation: one of the Dutch Government and one of the Dutch Caribbean Parliaments, with Aruba in the lead.
The Dutch proposal as yet has to go through the Kingdom Council of Ministers. The second proposal still needs to be formally submitted to the Second Chamber by one of the Dutch Caribbean countries, probably by the Aruba Minister Plenipotentiary who has the right of initiative where it comes to the submitting Kingdom Law proposals.
“We discussed when the Dutch proposal would go to the Council of State for advice. We agreed that we would support each other to ensure that the procedure will go swiftly,” said Recourt. “We will await the decision of the Kingdom Council of Ministers and see what the Dutch Government will do next,” said Bosman.
According to Bosman, the IPKO provided a good opportunity to talk about how things were going, where things went well and to address each other where things were not doing so great. “For example, I asked the St. Maarten delegation about the status of the Integrity Chamber. For the VVD and the Netherlands the establishing of an Integrity Chamber for St. Maarten remains an important issue. Integrity is the foundation of good governance,” said Bosman.
The Integrity Chamber was discussed in a plenary setting, whereby the St. Maarten delegation indicated that this issue was being assessed following last year’s ruling of the Court. The issue of law enforcement in St. Maarten, another important topic for the Dutch Government, was not discussed at the IPKO.
Bosman and Recourt said that they were glad that it was unilaterally decided late last year to proceed with the IPKO in Curaçao. Recourt spoke of a “constructive approach” by all delegations.
“Our mutual investments in the relations among the Parliaments of the past years has had a positive result. Gone are the days of the traditional clashes. There is a general consensus that we have to treat each other with respect and that there is a need to continuously share information which improves the mutual understanding,” said Recourt. “The IPKO provides a platform to exchange thoughts,” added Bosman.
Leader of the Curaçao delegation Mc William even suggested for the Parliaments to come together more often than twice a year for the IPKO. In her opinion, this would allow the Parliaments to get closer to each other and to better understand each other. She also suggested to establish an IPKO secretariat which would monitor the execution of the initiatives and decisions of the IPKO by the governments within the Kingdom.
Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten