Dutch believe four countries must find common goals

POSTED: 07/18/11 11:46 AM

“The Netherlands has hope for the Kingdom.”

THE NETHERLANDS – Each part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands must have an interest in its future if it is to continue. That is one of the main conclusions of the vision document that the Dutch cabinet has just released. Titled “The Future of the Kingdom” the report portrays the Dutch government as part with numerous interests in the Caribbean and states that joint goals of the Kingdom partners will only be realized through mutual cooperation.

The vision was presented at the request of the Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee on Kingdom Relations. The body wanted to know how the Dutch government felt about the future Kingdom in the days after the dismantling of the Netherlands Antilles on October 10, 2010. The document refers to four countries in the Kingdom since that date – The Netherlands, Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten – with Dutch borders now extending into the Caribbean region.

The Dutch government has concluded that the two main consequences of the dismantling are that the Netherlands must now seek cooperation with Caribbean islands on transportation, energy and medical facilities, which Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba need for their daily living and that there is no buffer between the islands and the Netherlands because the Central Government – formerly stationed in Willemstad – has ceased to exist.

The Dutch cabinet sees three options for the future development of the Kingdom. The first is that all four countries will give constructive substance to the cooperation in areas of mutual trust and dependence between them to the benefit of each country and the Kingdom as a whole.

“The Dutch government believes this option provides the most prospects,” the policy paper states.

Beyond the four countries working together the Dutch cabinet sees two or three of the countries working together when one or more of the other countries do not see themselves as a partner in a particular goal.

The third and final option is that the partners will not be able to find themselves in any common goals then the relationship will devolve to simply a legal position.

“That means the countries will fall under the Netherlands only in terms of the gaurentee function, where the Netherlands reminds countries from to time that they must have a government that has integrity and is reliable, that there is sound administration of justice and they protect human rights,” the vision document states

There are doubts however that the Dutch will be able to be the “police” of the Kingdom forever.

Continued interest

The Dutch government makes it clear in the document that it stands ready to continue cooperation on the economic and trade front. It also wants to develop relationships on healthcare, nature and environment and energy and ecology. Cooperation on all fronts would be to the benefit of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.

The report states that Aruba has already tabled a vision document that states that they’re interested in a continued relationship that focuses on investments in the realization of Aruba’s ambitions. St. Maarten and Curacao have yet to table a position, but it is expected they will do this at the Kingdom Conference before the end of the year as part of a multilateral exercise that will also include Aruba.

While the main point of departure for the vision document is the continued existence of the Kingdom the Dutch government admits that the question of dissolution has been considered several times. The document affirms that Kingdom relationship between the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname has changed since 1948 and the question is arising again whether it’s not time to completely dissolve the partnership and for Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten to become independent as that is the last step in the process.

“The Netherlands has hope for the Kingdom but that means there must be a sustained political and administrative willingness and readiness to meet the basic conditions and requirements for fruitful cooperation namely strong public finances, a stable economy and legal certainty,” the Dutch government states in its vision.

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