D66 Member of Parliament Jorien Wuite was eligible for the election of 2021 because there was a lack of knowledge about the islands in parliament. But she announced not to return after the elections in November.
And then the governing parties – VVD, CDA, ChristenUnie, and your D’66 – decide to pull the plug on the cabinet. Were you surprised?
“The political instability is something that I’m familiar with from the islands. When on the first day of recess you hear all of a sudden that the cabinet falls, you think: shoot…. this is annoying and very risky for topics that are important to the Caribbean part of our Kingdom. This raises a lot of thoughts and emotions. We were doing well on the file of Kingdom relations. And now there will be early elections.”
In recent years it was noticeable during debates how very few members of the House of Representatives know about the islands. Several parties show a marked lack of interest to participate in these debates. Before you have said in interviews that your Caribbean background helps to get things done. If that is so, then why stop now?
“If I’m being honest with myself: to make yourself eligible is a commitment to the voter. It’s all about them. It is a promise you make to represent them for four years. In June I said to myself that I’d do this for one term.”
“For me, things can always be more ambitious. I like to think on a grand scale. Of course, it is difficult not to make yourself eligible when you feel that after 2,5 years much progress is still needed. It is a short time.”
“At the same time, I know that the next generation of Caribbean people with solid political aspirations will rise. That was the goal I had in 2020: that an inclusive democracy with the Caribbean part was necessary.”
You say it sucks that the work is not finished. Because of early elections, there are bound to be delays, because themes that need solutions urgently will be declared “controversial” in September. Is there more going on?
“Administrative and diplomatic abilities are a better fit for me. But the premature ending of our term is frustrating when I think of the social minimum for the Dutch Caribbean, the long-term vision, or moving on with the socio-economic strengthening of all islands.”
The cabinet is demissionary, but the House of Representatives is not. What can still be done in the coming months by The Hague?
“My goal is now to prevent that in the year to come The Hague will come to a standstill in matters regarding Kingdom relations. So I’m doing all I can to be of meaning to the Caribbean Dutch on the islands. And I hope to still be doing this in a different way after November 22. There is enough to fight for in the next four months, especially with regard to the social minimum. That needs to be achieved for Bonaire, Saba, and Statia.”
Politicians have been saying that in The Hague for more than 10 years. Do you see a light at the end of the tunnel?
“I hope to hear about it in the King’s speech in September. That would be great. Besides, based on my motion, on October first the Thode Committee will have important conclusions and recommendations. I will still be here and I am looking forward to that. I hope that the budget debates will give us space to finally, by having dialogues, put that situation and that injustice right.”