St. Maarten Government, Donner, Leers open discussion on policy documents

POSTED: 04/5/11 12:01 PM

St. Maarten – The Council of Ministers has opened discussions with Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Piet Hein Donner on the Dutch government’s future vision for the Kingdom. They have also opened discussions on immigration and free movement with the Dutch Minister of Immigration and Integration Gerd Leers. Discussions of a similar nature were held with parliament on Sunday.

Donner said he told the government that the effort is not meant as a stopping point in the already ongoing reform of the Dutch Kingdom. Instead this engagement is a sign of his respect for the feelings in the countries in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom as he prepares a policy paper requested by the Dutch parliament.

“I don’t want to diverge from the feelings in the countries and I hope this provides for fruitful discussions. I have also realized that more positive relations and more stable relations require that we find common ground,” Donner said.

Leers stressed again Monday that he’d been met with open minds and warm atmosphere during talks with members of the Council of Ministers and at the Immigration Department. He also stressed again that he believed now is the time “to make a start on new relations and embrace the proposal for a new dialog.”

“I was truly impressed when I met with the new immigration service and saw that they are making progress. We spoke there about the new immigration policy both for people entering the various parts of the Kingdom and moving between them. One thing we agree on is that it cannot be a free ticket ride,” Leers said before announcing he’s contemplating returning in June to join in discussions that the four Justice Ministers of the Kingdom will have here in Philipsburg.

The two ministers began their day by meeting Governor Eugene Holiday and attending the special sitting of parliament that paid tribute to former Island Council Member, Commissioner and State Secretary of Justice Edgar Lynch.


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