Published On: Mon, Jul 22nd, 2013

Rutte: ‘Islands may leave if they want’

RutteTHE HAGUE, WILLEMSTAD – Caribbean islands who want to break tie with Netherlands may leave immediately according to the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte.

The Prime Minister has said that during his visit to the islands to reporters of De Telegraaf and NRC Handelsblad.

“If you call me tomorrow that you want out, then we'll arrange it immediately,” said the Prime Minister to the representatives of the islands. According to Rutte “they looked at me surprised too”.

The Prime Minister wants to avoid with his statements another discussion on their constitution and their relationship with the Netherlands. He wants them to concentrate on things like clean up their finances.


Rutte visited Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. They are independent countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Also, the Prime Minister was on Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius, which apply as a special Dutch municipality since the constitutional reform of 2010.

D66 leader Alexander Pechtold called Rutte’s statements; “for a historian very inappropriate and for a Premier little diplomatic”. According to Pechtold, Rutte’s words were meant for the stage because he knows that that’s what people love to hear.

Netherlands has a history of 400 years with the islands, so the Prime Minister is obliged to “ carefully formulate” his words, according to Pechtold. “What if he had said this about the Dutch province Limburg? Then there would be no place for him to hide.”

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