MP Ronald van Raak says he doesn’t think St. Maarten was ready for autonomy

POSTED: 02/24/15 1:53 AM

St. Maarten – Minister Plenipotentiary Josianne Fleming-Artsen recently met with Dutch Second Chamber Member of Parliament (MP) Ronald van Raak where they exchanged views about developments on St. Maarten.

MP Ronald van Raak has been very outspoken with respect to developments in other parts of the Kingdom, in Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten. “MP Van Raak during our meeting was very clear in his belief that St. Maarten was not ready to get autonomy in 2010 and his reactions come from this perspective. The MP is concerned about white collar crime and the casino sector, and he feels that not enough is being done, however, he supports the efforts of the Dutch Government regarding integrity, but feels that another approach should have been taken.

“Regarding the Integrity Chamber, the Dutch MP feels that the course taken by the Kingdom Council of Ministers regarding the chamber does not leave much room for dialogue between the Netherlands and St. Maarten. In our discussions, we also spoke about the social issues, and I informed him that social issues should be tackled simultaneously, and he agreed, and also declared his willingness to look at ways to help empower the social structures of country Sint Maarten.

“The MP and I also discussed where he gets his information about Sint Maarten, since this shapes his opinions and reactions on issues.  I informed him that some serious allegations have been made over the years pertaining to integrity issues, but without proof to substantiate these allegations, they tend to live a life of their own, and this has been creating a certain perception in the Netherlands and putting the relationship between our two countries sometimes unnecessarily under pressure.

“The meeting with Dutch MP Van Raak gave us both the opportunity to discuss the issues in an amicable manner.  It was an open minded pleasant discussion.  We both recognized the need for continued dialogue and communication. I also pointed out that whatever perceived problems may exist, a discussion was needed and a solution found in a mutual manner using the articles of the Kingdom Charter rather than initiative laws that will only further raise tensions unnecessarily between the two countries,” Minister Plenipotentiary Josianne Fleming-Artsen concluded.

The meeting took place at the Sint Maarten House in The Hague.  The invitation to meet came from MP Van Raak when the Minister briefly met him at the Ambassador’s Conference back in January. Dutch MP Van Raak is a member of the Socialist Party (SP).

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