Dutch Representative Van der Wulp visits St. Maarten

POSTED: 09/15/11 12:46 PM

“Use existing networks for developing foreign policy”

GREAT BAY, St. Maarten – Within the Kingdom there is an agreement that the Kingdom is in charge of foreign policy, but if St. Maarten wants to develop its own policy, those agreements have to be renegotiated. That is the opinion of Gerard van der Wulp, the new Dutch representative for the Dutch Caribbean.

Yesterday afternoon Van der Wulp, a former news anchor for NOS TV turned diplomat, hosted a reception at Chippie Café that was attended by members of the cabinet, Governor drs. Eugène Holiday and other dignitaries.

Van der Wulp said that it is understandable that St. Maarten wants to develop its own contacts in the region and that this could be beneficial to the country.

“It’s different from voicing opinions about world affairs. If St. Maarten would say something about Libya that diverges from the Dutch point of view we would have a problem, because we have agreed that this task belongs to our Minister of Foreign Affairs.”

But Van der Wulp sees no harm in developing regional contacts as long as this is done in consultation with the Kingdom. He said that appointing Ministers of Plenipotentiary in the region is a possibility.

“Aruba has a Minister of Plenipotentiary in Washington (Van der Wulp’s previous station – ed.). It was only one man, but because he had the support from the embassy, he could achieve a lot for Aruba. He earned his money back. If St. Maarten is going to do this, I would advise them to make use of the existing networks.”

In a brief address Van der Wulp said that the Kingdom is facing a period of humongous budget cuts. In the Netherlands, the government aims to trim €18 billion ($25.2 billion).

“There is a euro-crisis, and the American economy just does not get going,” he said.

“This means that the governments in all countries in the Kingdom, but also of countries outside of it, are under enormous pressure. We have to make sure that the government finances are in order, but the pain is felt by the population on all levels. In this situation, the Kingdom will look at its own interests first. That makes cooperation between the partners in the Kingdom important.”

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