Published On: Tue, Nov 13th, 2012

Minister Plasterk seeks cooperation

THE HAGUE – The new Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk wants to cooperate with all partners in the Kingdom, but only if the countries want that as well.

Plasterk stated this in his speech at the St. Maarten Day celebration in The Hague on Friday. It was his first public appearance, aside from his visit to the First Chamber of the Dutch Parliament, after he was sworn in last week.

"We are in the Kingdom together. We don't always feel the warmth of our relationship. I would like to work with all countries, but only if all four want to do so as well. I look forward to working together. It is your Kingdom, my Kingdom, our Kingdom," he told the audience in flawless English.

"We are citizens of the world. We share a bit of Europe, a bit of the Caribbean. We are more than passers-by. We can do and achieve many things, if we all work together. But the love has to come from all sides, not only from one," Plasterk told The Daily Herald after his speech.

In his speech, Plasterk said that until now he had never made the connection between St. Maarten's national day and the St. Maarten that is celebrated in The Netherlands, when children with home-made lanterns pass by people's homes. In return for singing a song, the children receive candy or a piece of fruit.

The Minister also mentioned Columbus, who discovered St. Maarten on November 11, as well as the holy Saint Martin, who during a winter storm gave half of his cloak to somebody else.

Plasterk lauded the fact that Friday's St. Maarten Day celebration in The Hague was held at a school, ROC Mondriaan College. He said that this was especially significant, because young people were the future.

"I put emphasis on youngsters, because we have the tendency to discuss things at a constitutional level, but they are the ones that have to return to their islands after their studies to contribute," he said in an invited comment afterwards. He called the St. Maarten Day celebration a "warm bath" and a "beautiful evening."

Source: The Daily Herald

Click Tag(s) for Related Articles: