Published On: Tue, Jun 13th, 2017

Tripartite meeting: Perfect Kingdom is distant dream

IPKO_CuracaoTHE HAGUE - It is difficult to imagine a perfect future when many problems need solving in the present. This was the general message of the delegations of the Parliaments of St. Maarten, Curaçao and Aruba, who on Monday had their so-called tripartite – a final meeting in The Hague to prepare for the Inter-Parliamentary Consultation for the Kingdom IPKO.

The ideal Kingdom in 2040 is an official topic on the IPKO agenda, but all delegations said any discussions about the future would include topics such as the Dispute Regulation (geschillenregeling) and instructions by the Kingdom Council of Ministers.

“There are many bottlenecks that need to be addressed on the way to 2040,” said Sarah Wescot-Williams, chairwoman of the Parliament of St. Maarten.

“How can we think about a perfect future when the present is far from ideal?” said Ana-Maria Pauletta, chairwoman of the Kingdom Affairs Commission of Curaçao.

Rene Herdé, chairman of the same commission of Aruba, agreed: In general, saying, “The future is fine, but it contradicts a reality in which we, time after time, face instructions. To look at the future, we have to face the present.”

All delegations agreed that a debate about the Kingdom in 2040 has to be narrowed down to a selection of topics.

“We will have to determine a framework with boundaries for this discussion,” said Rodolphe Samuel, chairman of the Kingdom commission for St. Maarten.

In the meantime, topics such as the dispute regulation and instructions need to be discussed as well.

The three delegations again objected on Monday to the decision by Minister of Kingdom Affairs Ronald Plasterk to send a draft proposal by the Dutch government to the Council of State, while the four Parliaments, including the Dutch, previously supported a joint proposal for dispute regulation, which is different from the version by the government.

St. Maarten, Curaçao and Aruba still prefer a binding ruling to settle disputes and a limitation to legal disputes about the interpretation of the Kingdom Charter. They also prefer a completely independent dispute-settling entity and consider the Council of State a Dutch institution.

Samuel said the St. Maarten delegation also clarified their view about the Integrity Chamber. “We don't need an Integrity Chamber with 30 detectives to check the integrity of everybody, which is the goal of the Dutch government. We need an institution that will stress the importance of integrity and teach people about it,” he said.

Curaçao and Aruba both agreed that an Integrity Chamber is necessary, but should not be realised by force by the Netherlands.

Wescot-Williams said Monday's meeting also made clear that the Parliaments of St. Maarten, Curaçao and Aruba should meet more often, not only to prepare for the IPKO. “Topics such as education, health care and economic cooperation are not topics that can only be discussed within a Kingdom framework. We all expressed a wish to discuss cooperation more often,” she said.

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