Sunday, Dec 21st

LATEST:
You are here: Islands Islands News Joint work group to set scope 2015 evaluation

bestOf2014

Joint work group to set scope 2015 evaluation

~ Statia's objections to narrowed down terms heard ~

THE HAGUE--The general evaluation in 2015 will not be narrowed down to the status of either public entity or municipality status for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. The island delegations and the Dutch Government on Thursday agreed to install a high level work group which will look at the terms for the evaluation.

After several days of negotiations, Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk and the representatives of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba agreed to install a work group with the three Commissioners of Constitutional Affairs, the Island Secretaries and the Secretary general of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK which will determine the scope and terms of the 2015 evaluation.

The work group will formulate the final order of the evaluation which will be formalised during the next Caribbean Netherlands Week in June 2014. It was agreed that the evaluation will be of an "objective and factual" nature and that the evaluation report will not contain recommendations. Based on the results of the evaluation, the islands and the Dutch Government will come with joint proposals for adaptations in the general policy for the islands and where necessary per individual island.

The decision to install a work group facilitates the wish of the islands to have an input in the evaluation on the basis of equality. "For us it was important to ensure that the evaluation is in agreement with all islands and that both sides of the ocean are equally involved," said Saba Commissioner Chris Johnson at a press conference.

The scrapping of the two lines from the draft agreement that the island delegations received at the start of the Caribbean Netherlands Week that actually excluded the possibilities for different constitutional statuses other than public entity or municipality as part of the evaluation was a victory for the Statia delegation.

Statia's Commissioner Reginald Zaandam had fiercely objected to the desire of the Netherlands to only focus on giving content to the public entity or municipality status in the evaluation. He said the proposal was "totally unacceptable" and stressed that the evaluation had to be based on equality of the parties involved in the evaluation.

St. Eustatius wants to keep all options open to enable its people to decide on the island's constitutional status in a referendum. The people never voted for integration in the Netherlands and in fact chose to remain part of the Netherlands Antilles in a 2005 referendum. "The Hague has to understand that it is not for them to decide but it is our people that make that decision," Zaandam told The Daily Herald.

Zaandam confirmed that St. Eustatius will have a constitutional referendum in 2014. A referendum committee with experts will be established under the auspices of the joint Constitutional Committee of Statia's Island and Executive Councils. A town hall meeting will be held in November to inform the people about the referendum and the constitutional developments.

St. Eustatius received support from the Saba delegation in its wish to have the lines deleted from the draft agreement which restricted the evaluation to the public entity or municipality status, even though the government of that island doesn't fancy a change of the public entity status or organising a referendum on Saba. "This cannot be dictated by The Ministry of BZK or The Hague," said Commissioner Johnson.

Johnson made clear that he was not in favour of linking the evaluation to a referendum. "These are two separate things. The evaluation needs to be about what works, what doesn't and what needs adjustments. The evaluation has to be effective and result in tangible improvements for our people and less overregulation," he said in an invited comment. He said he saw enough possibilities, flexibility in the public entity status to adapt it in a way that best suited Saba.

The Government of Saba is not planning a referendum, but it does support the wish of

St. Eustatius to have one. "Everyone is free to have a referendum. In that sense,

St. Eustatius has our support," said Johnson.

Asked at the press conference why the Dutch Government was dead set against opening the possibilities for other constitutional models in the evaluation, Minister Plasterk said that this was the opinion of the Netherlands. However, he added, this is something that would further be discussed with the islands. "We will not walk away from it. But having a discussion on constitutional relations every five years when we have an evaluation doesn't seem conducive for the islands or its people," he said. He stressed that the evaluation was about the people.

Commissioner Zaandam said that he would remain alert on the issue. "Because they will try to do things their way." He lamented the remark that Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte had made that independence was the only other option for the islands. "That decision is not his, but ours to make."

Image
43 graduate from St. Dominic High, Schaminee, Nebhwani valedictorians
Friday, 19 December 2014
SOUTH REWARD--Forty three students graduated from St. Dominic High School on Thursday evening in a... Read more...
Majority adopts Urban Code at Council meeting
Friday, 19 December 2014
MARIGOT--The majority party adopted the new Urban Code at the year’s last Territorial Council... Read more...
Image
Chastanet – Over-reaction to reports of plan to assassinate St. Lucia PM
Friday, 19 December 2014
CASTRIES, St. Lucia--The leader of the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) Allen Chastanet... Read more...
Image
Prisons officers threaten shutdown
Thursday, 18 December 2014
PORT OF SPAIN--Prisons officers are threatening to shut down operations at the country's penal... Read more...
Image
President's year-end message to Americans: I'm not a lame duck
Friday, 19 December 2014
WASHINGTON--If U.S. President Barack Obama is feeling the pain from a rough year at the office, he... Read more...
Obama vows US response to North Korea over cyberattack
Friday, 19 December 2014
WASHINGTON--President Barack Obama vowed on Friday to respond to a devastating cyberattack on Sony... Read more...
Image
Mother arrested for murder after children found dead in Australia
Friday, 19 December 2014
SYDNEY--The 37-year-old mother of most of the eight children found dead in a mass stabbing in... Read more...
Image
Swiss seek to make amends for "contract child" labour
Friday, 19 December 2014
BERNE--A campaign seeking financial restitution for thousands of Swiss children once forced into... Read more...
Image
Hong Kong ex-official, property tycoon guilty in corruption case
Friday, 19 December 2014
HONG KONG--A former top Hong Kong civil servant was found guilty on Friday of accepting HK$8.5... Read more...
Russia's parliament rushes through bill boosting banking capital
Friday, 19 December 2014
MOSCOW--Russia's lower house of parliament hastily approved a draft law on Friday that would give... Read more...
Image
We need a reduction in the fuel clause now
Friday, 19 December 2014
Dear Editor, Please allow me some space in your newspaper to share OSPP’s written request, on... Read more...
Image
Santa’s helper
Friday, 19 December 2014
Dear Queenie, No matter what kind of gift I give my sister she is never pleased with it. She... Read more...
Image
Rotary Youth Soccer Competition
Friday, 19 December 2014
Genevieve de Weever School won the Rotary Youth Soccer Competition at Raoul Illidge Sports Complex... Read more...
Image
Accolades pour in for Lakers' Bryant  
Friday, 19 December 2014
LOS ANGELES-- Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant has often been a polarizing figure... Read more...
Image
George Clooney criticizes Hollywood in cyberattack
Friday, 19 December 2014
NEW YORK--Oscar winner George Clooney slammed Hollywood power players for not supporting Sony... Read more...
Image
Stars fill the stage Thursday as Colbert closes his Report
Friday, 19 December 2014
NEW YORK--Stephen Colbert filed his final "Colbert Report" on Thursday, bidding farewell to his... Read more...
Image
EPIC Eco-Labels
Friday, 19 December 2014
~ Creating corporate responsibility ~ By Laura Bijnsdorp Yesterday, three locations were awarded... Read more...
Image
Saba Spotlight – Els Mommers
Friday, 19 December 2014
A closer look at the woman behind the art Els Mommers has been a renowned artist for many years.... Read more...
Editorial - Hit the ground running
Friday, 19 December 2014
After all the political turmoil over the last few months the installation of the Gumbs cabinet can... Read more...
Editorial - Inconclusive
Thursday, 18 December 2014
The referendum in St. Eustatius fell far short of the 60 per cent turnout considered the minimum to... Read more...
Image
Saturday Dec. 20, 2014
Friday, 19 December 2014
Image
Friday Dec. 19, 2014
Friday, 19 December 2014
Notices December 20
Friday, 19 December 2014
Sunday, December 21 AQUATHLON Organised by Tri-Sport Description: 1Km Swim followed by a 5Km (Short... Read more...
Notices December 19
Thursday, 18 December 2014
Sunday, December 21 AQUATHLON Organised by Tri-Sport Description: 1Km Swim followed by a 5Km (Short... Read more...