“It’s a start, but not what we have been fighting for years already,” said Aruban opposition leader Evelyn Wever-Croes (MEP) about Saturday’s news that the Kingdom Council of Ministers had endorsed the Dutch Government’s proposal for a dispute regulation. This means alternative legislation suggested by Curaçao, St. Maarten and Aruba was basically ignored.
It had been agreed during the recent Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultation in Willemstad that Kingdom Relations and Home Affairs Minister Ronald Plasterk would go ahead and send his draft law to the Second Chamber in The Hague, where amendments also coming from the three Caribbean countries could be introduced. It has now been submitted to the Council of State first and probably won’t be debated until after the March national elections in the Netherlands.
According to the Dutch version, this same council will be the entity to judge potential disagreements. However, its advice won’t be binding, which is one of the main objections from the islands.
But Plasterk assured that the Kingdom Government would have to seriously take into account the arguments and reconsider its related decision that is automatically suspended for the review if applicable. In practice the recommendations will almost always be adhered to, he explained.
Another issue is that the regulation fails to cover certain decisions such as those considered so urgent by the Dutch Prime Minister that they permit no delay, cases where security is at stake or acute situations. Also excluded are matters for which there is already a so-called Crown Procedure at the Council of State like the Kingdom Law on Financial Supervision or with existing Kingdom Laws on which an advice has already been given.
Of course, when the Parliament in The Hague does handle Plasterk’s draft legislation there is indeed the possibility to make changes also based on wishes of the Dutch Caribbean. Therefore too, what will be the end result and the position taken by a majority of the next Second Chamber after the upcoming election is anybody’s guess at this point.