Published On: Fri, Jun 1st, 2018

Dutch Minister of Justice hides behind the autonomy of the Caribbean countries

Ferdinand-grapperhausTHE HAGUE - Questions asked by the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament in response to criticism from an independent evaluation committee on the functioning of law enforcement in the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom are dismissed by Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security. The Minister stated that many of the shortcomings found in this sector are the responsibility of each island and he, therefore, has no control over them.

Members of the Dutch government are increasingly using this loophole to refrain from commenting on topics that are sensitive between countries.

This includes, among other things, inadequate budgets and the structural understaffing of the police forces. The Minister does inform the Chamber that he will discuss the recommendations of the committee during July's Judicial Four-Country Consultation (JVO) with his colleagues from Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten. The committee's statement that the arrival of new police officers is hampered by the language requirements imposed on admission to the training was denied by Grapperhaus. The Minister said that the minimum standards have been jointly established by the countries.

“The Board of Chief Officers agreed to this, after which the Ministers of Justice also agreed to this in the JVO,” said the Minister in his reply to the Chamber.

A stumbling block is above all the requirement with regard to the Dutch language. “If this minimum standard is not met, it must be assumed that the candidate has insufficient command of Dutch. In such a case no appointment can follow.” Many candidates do not pass the language test. The Chamber is still planning an oral consultation with the Minister about his answers.

By Rene Zwart (Kingdom Relations)

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