Government appreciates Gerd Leers’ approach

POSTED: 04/7/11 11:43 AM

St. Maarten – The government of St. Maarten has welcomed discussions initiated by Dutch Minister of Immigration and Integration Gerd Leers on movement of people entering the various parts of the Dutch Kingdom and the movement of people between the various parts of the Kingdom. The Minister discussed his work on a new policy with parliament on Sunday and then with the Council of Ministers on Monday.

Speaking on Wednesday Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams said the government is pleased with the fact that Leers has taken a consultative approach to crafting the policy. They are also pleased with assurances from Leers that the draft law on movement in the Kingdom is not his point of departure. The regulations first crafted by former Minister Rita Verdonk would have led to rules being set in place for Dutch passport holders from the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. Those rules included expulsion if a person committed a crime and the need for people to prove they had a job or would be studying within a specific time period after arriving in the Netherlands. The Parliament and Government of the Netherlands Antilles fiercely opposed the measure and the debate has continued raging. Leers is now reopening the discussion and the government of St. Maarten “appreciates his approach.”

“Clearly the Minister wishes to think outside of the box as far as this matter is concerned and we look forward to further discussions that will be taking place,” Wescot-Williams said.

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