Aruba shows reluctance with support against instruction

POSTED: 10/27/14 5:03 PM

ORANJESTAD – Politicians in Aruba are divided about the instruction from the Kingdom Council of Ministers to St. Maarten, Ariën Rasmijn reports on Caribisch Netwerk. Contrary to Curacao, where practically all parties reject the instruction, it seems that only governing party AVP supports the Government in St. Maarten.

Aruba did not call a meeting of Parliament to discuss the situation, as Curacao did. “It is important that when such interventions take place they are executed according to the rules of the Kingdom Charter,” Prime Minister Mike Eman says.

Eman says that St. Maarten is entitled to an internal appeal – a consultation between the prime ministers of the countries involved – before the intervention takes place. According to Eman, this was refused to Aruba several months ago when Governor Fredis Refunjol received an instruction not to sign the country’s 2014 budget.

Eman says that he instructed Aruba’s minister plenipotentiary in The Hague to support St. Maarten in case the country requests and internal appeal. “We also instructed our minister plenipotentiary to support St. Maarten if it asks for an advice from the Council of State.”

St. Maarten did not ask for an internal appeal, but when the governor received an instruction to commission an integrity investigation last year, it did ask for an advice from the Council of State. The council refused this, the same way it refused to give an advice to Aruba about the budget-conflict. “This is now part of a larger discussion that will have to take place in the Kingdom,” Eman says. “How do we read the Kingdom Charter and where do we go if there is a difference of opinion about what we read.”

Eman thereby hints at Aruba’s wish for an independent institution for settling disputes between countries in the Kingdom and says that support for such a measure is growing among Dutch politicians.

The AVP-faction has not issued an official position on the instruction to St. Maarten. Faction leader Herdé says that he first wants to talk with colleagues in Curacao and St. Maarten. “At this moment I do want to say that we support the wish for the regulation of disputes that has been expressed during the tripartite meeting of Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten in July.

PDR-leader André Bikker refers to the internal character of the instruction and he does not want to get ahead of what other factions plan to do. MEP-leader Evelyn Wever-Croes said that she is not aware of the details of the instruction. “Because this is an internal matter, we are prudent with giving support. When the prime minister of St. Maarten came to Aruba to support Prime Minister Eman during his hunger strike we also considered this premature. That was also an internal matter.”

Wever-Croes says that Aruba has to deal with a whole lot of internal matters. “We are the only country in the Kingdom without a budget for 2014. We still are not out of our own constitutional crisis. The Second Chamber has refused the AVP’s last option – the road to the Council of State. Contrary to Curacao and St. Maarten, Aruba does not have consensus kingdom laws and now we have an instruction with the risk that we will also get a General Measure of Kingdom Governance.”

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