Netherlands Vs Former Antilles

D66 Senator Boris Dittrich, Feels That The Population Of Sint Maarten Is Being Unjustly Punished For A Conflict Between The Island Government And State Secretary Knops

This is because State Secretary Knops stopped the financial support after the States of Sint Maarten submitted a petition to the United Nations. In this, they accused the Netherlands of a colonial and racist attitude in setting conditions for liquidity support.

The Senate held a debate yesterday with outgoing State Secretary Raymond Knops of the Interior and Kingdom Relations. The policy debate was about relations with the countries and municipalities in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Several senators spoke about St. Maarten’s complaint to the UN and the compiled relationship with the island’s government.

Bad relationship

According to SP senator Arda Gerkens, the relationship with the Sint-Maarten government is “downright bad”. Eric van der Burg of the VVD stated that this deteriorated relationship has to do with the UN complaint. “As far as I am concerned, those accusations say nothing about the Secretary of State and his actions in this matter, but more about the politicians who made those accusations.”

Paul Rosenmöller of GroenLinks called the petition a “sad low point”. “The State Secretary responds by turning off the money tap. That is a new step in an escalation model, where de-escalation is so desirable. But I agree with the Secretary of State; it takes two to tango ”, says Rosenmöller.

Unjustified punishment

D66 senator Boris Dittrich asked Knops a number of questions about the specific policy for Sint Maarten. According to Dittrich, the residents of Sint Maarten have nothing to do with the UN complaint. “After the complaint, the State Secretary suspended aid and that raises questions among the D66 faction, because it punishes the population,” said the senator. “My question is whether there is actually sufficient dialogue between St. Maarten and the government.”

Dittrich questioned the “turning off of the money tap” for Sint Maarten. “How will it reopen and under what conditions? I have the feeling that the population of St. Maarten is now being punished because there is a conflict situation between the island government and the State Secretary. Surely it cannot be the intention that the population has to pay the price for this? “

Not naive

In his answer, Knops agreed with Dittrich that the population is certainly not served by a stalemate between two governments. “But on the other hand, I can also expect the Parliament of Sint Maarten to set priorities at the moment and that you, as a representative of that country, when that country is in crisis, do everything you can to ensure that those resources become available. ”

Knops said he was “not naive” about the contradiction of the petition after the government did agree to the support. “You cannot walk two tracks and say that they are both true, if those tracks are diametrically opposed to each other, legally, but also politically”. & Nbsp;

Slap in the face

The State Secretary called the complaint a slap in the face of a country within the Kingdom that wants to help. The secretary of state said he is now awaiting a statement on the charges. He could now say nothing more about this, except that he hopes that Sint Maarten will make the right choices in the interest of its own inhabitants.

According to Knops, Sint-Maarten has received the third tranche of 90 million euros in financial support. This means that a total of 352 million has been deposited into the trust fund to be spent on projects. In addition, the Netherlands has offered to provide technical assistance. For example for waste processing and the airport. “The Netherlands then pays these and they are deployed by the government, at least under the authority of the World Bank and in collaboration with the government of Sint Maarten,” said the State Secretary.

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