Published On: Wed, Apr 18th, 2018

Dutch government puts dispute regulation for Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten on hold

Prime Ministers OfficeTHE HAGUE - Aruba, Curaçao and Sint-Maarten are not yet given the opportunity to appeal to an independent judge if they disagree with decisions from The Hague.

The Dutch cabinet is putting the plan for a so-called dispute regulation on hold. Undersecretary of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops says he has other priorities, such as the reconstruction of St. Maarten.

The three islands have their own parliament and government, but the Kingdom Council of Ministers can give an order on their policy. Dutch ministers can force the islands to adjust their budgets, for example, or organize elections.

The islands often disagree about when action may be taken from The Hague. A special disputes committee must put an end to this.

In recent years, the autonomous islands have been quarreling with The Hague about, for example, government finances and the screening of ministerial candidates. In 2014, the Aruban former Prime Minister Mike Eman went on hunger strike after the Council of Ministers had decided that Aruba should not approve its budget.

The agreement for a dispute regulation has been on paper for more than twenty years. Aruba had agreed with former Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers of the Netherlands in 1993 that there would be a dispute regulation. The pressure on the Netherlands for a dispute regulation has again been stepped up after Curaçao and Sint Maarten have also become autonomous.

The Council of State wants the Dutch cabinet to speed up such a dispute regulation. The Council sees that the relations between the Netherlands and the islands have not improved. "Disputes that are the subject of further consultations arise all the time," says the 2017 annual report.

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