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Videos: ‘The Netherlands must act quickly on St Maarten’

THE HAGUE – State Secretary Raymond Knops (Kingdom Relations) can prepare for a solid debate with the House of Representatives. More and more parties want him to intervene in the reconstruction of Sint-Maarten.

The House of Representatives is “seriously concerned” now that the island has entered a political and constitutional crisis. After the Romeo-Marlin cabinet fell last month, this week the question arises whether the new elections in November can go ahead.Various coalition and opposition parties want to hear from State Secretary Knops next week “what scenarios are available” from The Hague to guarantee the reconstruction of the island. This is apparent from a survey.More parties want to intervene in St. Maarten

Last week, the CDA and VVD said they were thinking of intervening on St Maarten via the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom. Both coalition parties want Knops to inform the House of Representatives as quickly as possible about the possibilities.Now it appears that the PvdA opposition party is also in favor of administrative intervention after the fall of the Romeo-Marlin cabinet. “Repairing roofs, the airport and starting the economy” should not be endangered “by political fuss and mess,” says MP Attje Kuiken. “I certainly expect the State Secretary to intervene in these matters.”Administrative intervention is not yet under discussion, says D66 MP Antje Diertens. The coalition party first wants to know from the State Secretary himself “what exactly is going on” and what talks have yielded so far. Knops was on the island last week for a planned working visit.”Reconstruction through, even without St Maarten politics”

Diertens (D66) does want the Netherlands to intervene in a different way. According to D66, residents of St. Maarten must be able to count on good psychological care since Hurricane Irma. Diertens wants the Dutch cabinet to take action by deploying aid organizations to this through the World Bank.The SP also wants clarity from Knops next week about which projects the Netherlands can undertake during the reconstruction. “So what we can do, outside the government [of St. Maarten],” says MP Ronald van Raak.The SP is concerned about the years of political instability and corruption on the island. “It is of course very strange that we are going to build an autonomous country outside of their government. It is a situation that is unprecedented, “says Van Raak. “At the moment, making agreements with any government of St Maarten makes little sense.”Next week debate with KnopsNext week the annual debate will take place about the money and support from the Hague for the Caribbean empires. In practice, that debate is mainly about current events.The CDA tried behind the scenes to schedule a moment this week to put the cabinet to the test. But that was not possible due to the busy agenda of the Chamber.

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