The Hague – State secretary Raymond Knops (Kingdom Relations) should prepare himself for a heated debate with Parliament. The number of political parties that want him to intervene on Sint Maarten keep on growing.
Parliament is ‘deeply concerned’, now that the island has fallen into a political and constitutional crisis. After the Romeo-Marlin coalition fell last month, serious questions are being raised this week if the planned elections for November can go on.
Several coalition and opposition parties wish to hear from state secretary Knops next week ‘what kind of plans have been thought out’ in the Hague to guarantee that rebuilding on the island continues as planned, a survey showed.
Several parties want to intervene on Sint Maarten
Last week the CDA and the VVD already made it clear that they were thinking about an intervention on Sint Maarten through the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Both coalition partners want Knops to inform Parliament as soon as possible on what the possibilities are.
Now opposition party PvdA also seems to be a supporter of an intervention after the fall of the Romeo-Marlin coalition. ‘Repairing roofs, the airport, and reigniting the economy’ cannot be put in danger by ‘political infighting and chaos’, says MP Attje Kuiken. “I expect the State Secretary to intervene on those subjects.”
Governmental intervention is not yet warranted, says D66-MP Antje Diertens. The coalition partner first wants to hear from the State Secretary ‘what exactly is going on’ and what the talks have yielded. Knops was on the island last week for a planned work visit.
‘Rebuilding continues, with or without political Sint Maarten’
Diertens (D66) does however want the Netherlands to intervene on a different manner. According to D66, inhabitants of Sint Maarten have to be able to count on, amongst other things, good psychological care after hurricane Irma. Diertens wants the Dutch government to act through the World Bank and guide aide organizations towards that goal.
The SP also wants more clarity from Knops next week on which projects the Netherlands can manage itself when it comes to the rebuilding of Sint Maarten. “What can we do, without the government [of Sint Maarten]”, says MP Ronald van Raak.
The years of political instability and corruption on the island worries the SP. “It’s truly odd that we’ll be rebuilding an autonomous country, without the help of their own government. It’s an unheard of situation”, according to Van Raak. “Making arrangements with any government from Sint Maarten at this point is pointless.”
|Debate with Knops next week
Next week the yearly debate concerning the financial support from the Hague for the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom will take place. It usually centers itself around current affairs.
Behind closed doors the CDA tried to plan a meeting this week with the government to get a feel for its position on the matter. Due to the busy schedule of Parliament they were unable to do so.