Published On: Wed, Jun 5th, 2013

Intervention is not an option

SenateTHE HAGUE, WILLEMSTAD – During a lengthy policy debate on the future of the Kingdom last Tuesday, the Senators (Members of the First Chamber) of the Netherlands expressed their concerns about the political situation in Curacao and Sint Maarten. The Senators agreed that intervention by the Kingdom Government is a big step which involves a huge responsibility.

Minister Ronald Plasterk, the Dutch Minister of Kingdom Relations, concurred with the Senators that intervention, based on the guarantee function of the Kingdom Charter, is a heavy measure that should be used solely as an ultimate solution, if there is no redress by the Government of the country in question.

“We should not intervene every time we think that something is happening in one of the countries or if we disagree with what is happening. Intervention is a complex case. First, you should think very carefully before you invoke Article 43 paragraph 2 and secondly, if you intervene what do you do? When you intervene, you also have to take the responsibility. You cannot walk away from that," Minister Plasterk indicated.

Senator Thom de Graaf of the Democratic D66 Party hopes that the point would never be reached whereby the Kingdom Government would have to interfere with a tough approach in one of the Dutch Caribbean countries, because The Netherlands would be tied to the consequences for many years.

Senator Frank van Kappen of the liberal democratic VVD party said he too is worried about the integrity of government, both in Curaçao and St. Maarten. He said the guarantee function should be defined more sharply. "It is a very heavy measure that has caused us to look away too often in the past. A finer instrument to supervise and correct is very necessary," he said.

Van Kappen launched the idea to have an independent committee of experts report on a yearly basis, whether or not the countries live up to the joint principles of the Kingdom. He also made a case to thoroughly revise the Kingdom Charter and said that the Dutch Government should take an active role in this. But as long as changes don't happen, the countries in the Kingdom should make a true effort to cooperate.

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