Improved relations noted after ‘first’ Kingdom Council of Ministers meeting
The relations within the Kingdom improved visibly after the first Kingdom Council of Ministers RMR meeting with State Secretary of Home Affairs and Digitisation Alexandra van Huffelen. In photo: Ministers Plenipotentiary Rene Violenus and Carlson Manuel, State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen and Minister Plenipotentiary Guillfred Besaril after the meeting.
THE HAGUE–The relations within the Kingdom improved visibly after the first Kingdom Council of Ministers RMR meeting with State Secretary of Home Affairs and Digitisation Alexandra van Huffelen.
The new state secretary and three ministers plenipotentiary were positive about the atmosphere during the meeting and the decisions. The RMR approved the request to deviate from the balanced budget norm prescribed in the Kingdom Law on Financial Supervision RFT.
“We have made a beginning – my first meeting as the secretary of Kingdom Affairs…I will do my very best to give substance to our cooperation on the basis of equality, in a way that benefits everyone in the Caribbean part of our Kingdom,” the state secretary said after the RMR meeting. The meeting is held once a month and precedes the Dutch Council of Ministers meeting.
The ministers plenipotentiary said the state secretary and other new members of the Dutch coalition had an open mind and showed understanding for the challenges of the Caribbean countries. “It was an amicable meeting. We had a preliminary online introduction to the state secretary two weeks ago. We are happy that a lot of commitments that were made during that meeting manifested in this meeting,” said Minister Plenipotentiary of St. Maarten Rene Violenus.
Also important for the atmosphere was the approval to deviate from the balanced budget rules as requested by the countries and advised by the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT. “We decided that the countries can deviate from a balanced budget. This is an important decision, because it makes it possible to draw up a budget that will help the countries forward,” Van Huffelen said.
For Aruba, the decision was made about financial supervision. The agreements in the Protocol Aruba-Netherlands officially ended on January 1. The Dutch government first wanted to extend the agreement without a specific end date, while Aruba wanted an extension of a year. On Friday, they settled on a term of two years.
The same subjects had been on the agenda of the previous Kingdom Council of Ministers on December 17, 2021, but then all decisions were postponed. Former State Secretary Raymond Knops demanded that Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten approve the Note of Amendment to the Consensus Kingdom Law on the Caribbean Body for Reform and Development COHO. Excerpts of the amendment were also included as decision points for the RMR. Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten objected as these were new conditions and the Parliaments would have no chance to debate this aspect of the law.
The conditions were not on the agenda of Friday’s meeting. “In discussions with the new state secretary she recognised that we definitely needed to deviate from the budget because of the pandemic. This is also stated in the Kingdom Act on Financial Supervision. We are happy to see a different atmosphere with mutual dialogue where people listened to each other,” Violenus said.
The liquidity support and other topics were postponed to the next meeting of the RMR, which is scheduled for February 25, a day after the visit of State Secretary van Huffelen. One of the topics is the request by Aruba to gradually eliminate the 12.5 per cent cut in labour conditions. Minister Plenipotentiary of Aruba Guillfred Besaril said that while measures are necessary, it is also important to give people some positive perspective.