Published On: Thu, Mar 17th, 2016

Curaçao criticised for thwarting sanction law

page3a253THE HAGUE -The Daily Herald reported that Curaçao was heavily criticised by the liberal democratic VVD party for its objections to the Kingdom Sanction Law during the handling of said law proposal by the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Wednesday. Aruba and St. Maarten have already completed their national legislation procedure to impose European Union (EU) sanctions against criminal regimes, organisations or persons.

The Kingdom Sanction Law, aimed at securing unity in foreign policy within the Kingdom by imposing EU sanctions, is set to be approved by the Second Chamber next Tuesday. Only the Party for Freedom PVV is expected to vote against the law proposal.

The Kingdom Sanction Law has become a necessity, because the Curaçao Parliament rejected an adaptation of its national sanctions law. The Kingdom Sanction Law is the only guarantee that Curaçao will implement EU sanctions, thereby securing a uniform implementation within the Kingdom of this foreign policy.

It is this unity of the EU and the Kingdom that prevails above Curaçao’s objections, said Member of Parliament (MP) Han ten Broeke of the VVD. He emphasized that the Kingdom Charter prescribes a uniform foreign policy within the Kingdom.

“It is in or out. And, as long as Curaçao is an autonomous country within the Kingdom, it will have to keep to the Charter, and as such the unity of foreign policy. It cannot be that we allow a different implementation within the Kingdom. It would make the Kingdom vulnerable and hurt our international position,” said Ten Broeke, who stressed that no exemptions and no loopholes should be created for Curaçao.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders also stressed the need for uniformity. “The combating of international terrorism and the promotion of the international legal order is per definition a matter that concerns the entire Kingdom,” he said.

“It cannot be that a Russian citizen can’t touch his money in a Dutch bank account, but can access money in a bank account in Curaçao, Aruba or St. Maarten. It cannot be that Iranian oil can be processed at the Curaçao refinery, while that same oil cannot enter the Rotterdam harbour, “said Koenders.

MP Roelof van Laar of the Labour Party PvdA said that his party was surely in favour of imposing sanction measures by the entire Kingdom. However, he voiced some concerns about the possible adverse economic repercussions for a country like Curaçao if, for example, sanctions were to be imposed against Venezuela.

“Such sanctions could cost the countries in our Kingdom several dozen per cent of their Gross Domestic Product. Where could these countries turn to if the Netherlands accepts sanctions despite their objections,” asked Van Laar, who informed about the possibility of including the Sanction Law in the provision of the future Dispute Regulation (Geschillenregeling) for the Kingdom.

Minister Koenders wasn’t enthusiastic about Van Laar’s suggestion. He said that a procedure via a Dispute Regulation would result in a delay of the imposing of sanctions. “Sanctions need to be implemented at once and by all countries,” said Koenders, who nevertheless promised to discuss the matter with his colleague of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations, Minister Ronald Plasterk.

MP Raymond de Roon of the PVV referred to the actions by Curaçao as “stubborn and undesirable.” He said that Curaçao didn’t say no to financial assistance from the Netherlands and the EU, while it wasn’t willing to side with the Netherlands to take sanctions against “crooks.”

Still, the PVV will vote against the Kingdom Sanction Law to protest against the increasing influence of the EU. The PVV deemed that influence worse than Curaçao’s stubbornness. The PVV doubted whether Curaçao would execute the Kingdom Sanction Law, which De Roon called a “baby’s pacifier.”

“This law should serve as a legal net to get Curaçao to swim in the proper canal. Curaçao is completely autonomous in the execution of this law. It can greatly obstruct things, swim around that net. Curaçao will frustrate things for as long as it takes until the sanctions are ended,” said De Roon.

Van Laar and Ten Broeke criticised PVV’s decision to vote against the Kingdom Sanction Law. “The PVV makes it possible for Syrian President Assad to open a bank account in Curaçao,” said Van Laar. De Roon replied that Assad could already do such in Curaçao “or in any of the other crooked islands. Minister Koenders took offence to De Roon’s degrading remark about the Dutch Caribbean countries. He said he was “shocked” by De Roon’s comments, which he called “exceptionally irresponsible.” He made clear that the Kingdom Council of Ministers could intervene if one of the countries didn’t keep to the Kingdom Sanction Law. “I have had enough of reasoning which is not based on facts,” he said.

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