“We would love to get rid of these islands”

POSTED: 01/11/12 12:54 PM

Freedom Party senator Van Dijk: “We would love to get rid of these islands”

St. Maarten – “We would love to get rid of these islands, and if they make a bigger mess of it than it is today, that may very well happen,” Freedom Party (PVV) Senator Peter van Dijk told this newspaper during a tour of the airport with participants in the inter-parliamentary Kingdom consultation. The tour is part of the first inter-parliamentary Kingdom consultation ever to be held in country St. Maarten, which began at Sonesta Great Bay Beach Hotel on Tuesday with opening statements by delegation leaders of the parliaments of Aruba, Curacao, the Netherlands and St. Maarten made brief opening statements.

Van Dijk did not bite when we asked him his opinion about “this pirate’s nest.” Instead, he said, “You are making an attempt to elicit a statement from me. I would never use that term.”

The senator said that integrity is the most important issue for St. Maarten.

“When that is in order, the rest, like the quality of the financial administration, follows. Without integrity that will not succeed.”

Asjes on the attack

Where Aruba’s Parliament President Paul Croes offered a cooperative approach, his colleague from Curacao, Ivar Asjes, immediately went on the attack with a clear statement about his island’s drive towards more autonomy. Dutch delegation leader Brigitte van der Burg made short shrift of Curacao’s ambitions with a reference to a statement former Kingdom Relations Minister Piet Hein Donner made during an earlier consultation.

“He said that there are three flavors: putter on the way we are doing things right now, independence and attempting to make something of this together. And the choice fell on the last option,” she said.

Van der Burg, the chair of the permanent parliamentary committee for Kingdom Relations and a member of the VVD, said that the Netherlands “needs the other countries in the Kingdom to provide facilities for the BES-islands.”

Asjes focused on his country’s right “to take care of its internal affairs in all freedom and according to Curacao’s insights.” Asjes pleaded for an expansion of Curacao’s autonomy – “equal to that of the former Netherlands Antilles.” He also said that this has to be understood in the context of people’s right to self determination.

“The countries have to be leading and the Netherlands needs to take a backseat. We must prevent that politics in The Hague threatens the democracy in Curacao,” he said.

Asjes also claimed the right to unilaterally abolish Kingdom laws.

“We see that every country is special. We are in different stages of development and we each have unique characteristics. But we also have one thing in common and that is that we are part of the Kingdom; and our people appreciate that,” Aruba’s parliament-president said.

Croes said that Aruba has chosen to get the max out of its relationships within the Kingdom and that win-win situations have emerged from this approach.

St. Maarten’s Parliament-President Gracita Arrindell who opened the meeting expressed her pleasure about the fact that the island had been chosen as the location for the consultation.

“For several of you this is the first visit to St. Maarten. Do not forget to make some time for enjoying our island and our culture. You cannot leave here without having tried our Guavaberry,” she said.

Arrindell said that St. Maarten, during the first year of its autonomous existence, had worked with dedication on the population’s wellbeing.

“We want a sustainable future for our population.”

After the opening session, that started around eight thirty in the morning, the parliamentarians traveled to Princess Juliana International Airport, where they split up in three groups for a tour of the facility. Before returning to the conference room at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Hotel, they also paid a visit to Winair. The morning session closed off with a presentation by airport operations manager Larry Doncher and by Winair-advisor Michael Ferrier.

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Comments (2)

 

  1. Kaaskoppen says:

    PVV, ROT OP naar je land. Vieze kaaskoppen!

  2. Chamba Chada says:

    Sint Maarten is a pirates nest and should be proud of it. Since Rodney destroyed Sint Eustatius in 1781 as the best international hole in the conventions and dealt with friend and foe, the tradition has never disappeared. The container transit harbor and tax free status must be maintained. Like Gibraltar and Hong Kong and Macau and Cyprus, the few tax havens must stay for secret shipments to unknown destinations. It is a present from the monarchy. Over the local rabble is a Royal Crown, forget? No import tax. But brothels and gambling houses, money laundry and multi million yachts, this party rocks! As long as the monarchy survives will these islands never set free. Not a chance.