THE HAGUE–Delegations of the Parliaments of Aruba, Curaçao and the Netherlands closed off the Inter-Parliamentary Consultation of the Kingdom IPKO in The Hague on Friday with increased mutual understanding. St. Maarten was absent during this IPKO due to the handling of its 2019 budget.
“We didn’t only exchange views in the past days, but we really worked together,” said Jan Paternotte, who represented the Dutch Second and First Chambers’ delegation at the press conference on Friday, at which time the joint statement was also signed.
“We look back at a fruitful IPKO. Big steps were taken in the mutual relations,” said Member of Aruba’s Parliament Rocco Tjon.
“It was a successful IPKO, especially the presentation that we received about the relations and the cooperation within the Kingdom,” said Curaçao Parliament Chairperson William Millerson.
There was a lot of attention for the Venezuela crisis and the effect on especially Curaçao and Aruba. The IPKO delegations agreed to request that their respective governments provide clarity on the spending of the 23.8 million euros the Netherlands has made available to deal with the effects of the Venezuela crisis and to handle the mostly illegal immigrants.
“It is good that the money has been reserved, but we need to know that it reaches the places where it is most needed,” said Paternotte.
The Curaçao and Dutch delegations agreed to look into the wishes for the introduction of a visa obligation for Venezuelans who want to enter the Dutch Caribbean. Aruba and St. Maarten have already filed a request for the introduction of a compulsory visa, which was rejected by the Dutch government.
“If the four countries agree on the need for a compulsory visa for Venezuelans, we can ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs to start working on this,” said Paternotte.
Paternotte, who is the Chairperson of the Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations, mentioned St. Maarten’s absence at this IPKO. “Unfortunately, St. Maarten wasn’t present. We are really sorry about that. It was also for the first time since the IPKO started that we had to make do with only three countries.”
The IPKO partners understood the reason for St. Maarten’s absence.
“The budget needed to be handled, and this week was the only possibility to do so. The handling of this budget is also important for St. Maarten’s reconstruction, which is in the best interest of the people. We fully understand that,” said Paternotte.
Paternotte pointed out that St. Maarten had not been entirely absent, because Second Chamber Chairperson Khadija Arib had hosted a reception on Tuesday during which the “Wind of 185 Miles” painting by St. Maarten artist Ruby Bute was presented. The painting, presented by St. Maarten Minister Plenipotentiary Jorien Wuite along with a poem by Bute, is now hanging in a prominent spot in the Second Chamber.
During Friday’s press conference, the delegation leaders mentioned the discussion during the IPKO about the relations within the Kingdom and the contributions of colonial historian Gert Oostindie, and constitutional law experts Ernst Hirsch Ballin and Gerard Hoogers.
Tjon and Curaçao Member of Parliament Ana-Maria Pauletta said they found the working visit to the southern part of the city of Rotterdam, where many Dutch Caribbean persons live, and the manner in which social issues and backlogs in education were tackled, inspiring and interesting.
Even though the Dispute Regulation for the Kingdom was not on the IPKO agenda this time, the delegations of Curaçao and Aruba brought up the subject at every opportunity. The plenary debate in the Second Chamber on the Kingdom Law Dispute Regulation proposal takes place next week Tuesday.
According to Aruba Parliament Chairperson Ady Thijssen, this prospect did not have a negative influence on the IPKO talks this week. “We all knew the debate was coming. I have a positive feeling about the upcoming debate. Our standpoints of the four parliaments are very close. This could become a historic moment.”
The next IPKO is scheduled to take place in Curaçao, January 7-10.
Bron: Daily Herald