Duncan, Dowers and Donner agree on freedom of movement committee

POSTED: 06/20/11 1:05 PM

Curacao does not attend discussion

St. Maarten –A joint committee of civil servants on freedom of movement in the Dutch Kingdom will be set up to prepare for a meeting of the governments of the Netherlands, Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten. The gathering will take place in September at a yet to be named location.

The agreement to set up the work group was made on Sunday when the delegations of host St. Maarten, Aruba and the Netherlands met at Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort and Casino. The delegation of Curacao, led by Justice Minister Elmer “Kade” Wilsoe, did not attend the discussion. He had said Friday that he would not participate in a discussion on something that makes him “a third class citizen.”

Between now and September the work group will create an inventory of the views of all of the countries. The Dutch government has recently drafted a discussion paper and the Government and Parliament of St. Maarten have yet to take a formal position.

Varying positions

The matter of free movement is being raised again because the Dutch government is now responsible for admittance and expulsion on the islands of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba and plan to set up controls.

“We now have a direct interest in regulating access to this of the Dutch territory and the idea is to find what the mutual conditions are,” Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Piet Hein Donner said.

Donner is attending the meeting on behalf of his colleague Gerd Leers, who is responsible for Immigration and Integration.

St. Maarten’s Justice Minister Roland Duncan is of the personal view that there should be free movement of all Dutch citizens in the Kingdom. People who are living in the realms illegally or who are not citizens should continue to face restrictions. This position has to be supported by the Council of Ministers and the Parliament before it becomes official.

Aruba’s Justice Minister Arthur Dowers, who was accompanied by Immigration Minister Benny Sevinger, is happy that the Dutch government has decided to consult the islands about their new policy.

“The borders of the Netherlands have now moved into the Caribbean, so they should listen to us and this is a logical approach. We believe that there should be some protection considering the limitations that the islands have,” Dowers said.

The Aruban Minister said the Eman government wants to continue requiring Dutch citizens not born in Aruba to submit to certain requirements before establishing there, pointing that there are islands off the coast of the Netherlands – Texel, Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog – that have requirements, even for Dutch citizens, on establishing a life there.

“These islands like our countries, and especially the Dutch municipalities, are small and we believe we should be protected and we should continue to look at limitations,” Dowers said.


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