Sunday, Apr 26th

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

Best_of_2015_587x57_Results

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
Chamber lends helping hand to entrepreneurs with Business Centre
Saturday, 25 April 2015
TEATT Minister Claret Connor and MP Tamara Leonard cut the ribbon to officially open the... Read more...
Appeals filed in Bada Bing case
Saturday, 25 April 2015
PHILIPSBURG--All suspects in the Bada Bing case, involving bribery, trafficking of women, tax... Read more...
Image
Blue Bell ice cream recall extended to Caribbean
Friday, 24 April 2015
BRENHAM, USA --Blue Bell Creameries of Brenham, Texas, voluntarily expanded its recall to include... Read more...
Image
Banks look forward to resolution of correspondent banking issue
Thursday, 23 April 2015
CASTRIES, St. Lucia--The Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB) said it fully supports Prime Minister... Read more...
Image
All-clear sounded at Statue of Liberty after bomb scare sparks evacuation
Friday, 24 April 2015
NEW YORK--The Statue of Liberty was declared safe on Friday after a bomb scare forced the... Read more...
Several investigations likely of drone strikes
Friday, 24 April 2015
WASHINGTON--The Central Intelligence Agency's Inspector General will conduct what could be the... Read more...
Image
Suspected Al-Qaeda militants arrested for Vatican plot
Friday, 24 April 2015
ROME--Italian police on Friday arrested 10 people and were looking for eight others suspected of... Read more...
Image
ELN rebels say peace talks near, rule out jail
Friday, 24 April 2015
BOGOTA--Colombia's second-biggest guerrilla group says exploratory talks with the government are... Read more...
Image
Strong sales boost Renault shares as tensions with France simmer
Friday, 24 April 2015
PARIS--Renault shares powered to a seven-year high on Friday as forecast-beating quarterly sales... Read more...
Image
French gas giant GDF Suez changes its name to Engie
Friday, 24 April 2015
PARIS--French gas utility GDF Suez said on Friday it was changing its name to "Engie" to reflect an... Read more...
Image
Unhappy in love
Friday, 24 April 2015
Dear Queenie, My boyfriend has been acting strange for a while now. He forgets our dates and then... Read more...
Image
What God has to say about Carnival?
Thursday, 23 April 2015
Dear Editor, Many people and religious believers would be celebrating this yearly event called... Read more...
Image
King’s Day
Friday, 24 April 2015
Children of St. Maarten celebrated King’s Day with organized games at Melford Hazel Sport and... Read more...
Image
West Indies’ Brathwaite ton frustrates England
Friday, 24 April 2015
ST GEORGE'S, Grenada-- Kraigg Brathwaite's determined century led West Indies to 202 for two at the... Read more...
Image
Ensemble cast numbs pain of life in Anesthesia at Tribeca
Friday, 24 April 2015
NEW YORK--An ensemble cast led by actors Sam Waterston, Glenn Close and Kristen Stewart numb... Read more...
Image
Justin Bieber settles lawsuit with Florida photographer
Friday, 24 April 2015
MIAMI--A lawsuit against pop star Justin Bieber over an incident involving a photographer in Miami... Read more...
Image
The Evolving View of Cannabis
Saturday, 25 April 2015
~ Many opinions expressed at St. Maarten’s first open forum ~   By Lisa Davis-Burnett  ... Read more...
Image
King Vers: The Man Behind the Music
Saturday, 25 April 2015
~His music mirrors his life~ By Rik Haverman King Vers, real name Darin Hodge, is a 33-year-old... Read more...
Editorial - Hopeful thoughts
Saturday, 25 April 2015
The King's Day Celebration hosted by Governor Eugene Holiday and themed "Service and Country" at... Read more...
Editorial - As a whole
Friday, 24 April 2015
It probably seems like a bit of a never-ending story, but promoting cooperation between the Dutch... Read more...
Image
Firiday Apr. 24, 2015
Friday, 24 April 2015
Image
Monday April 20, 2015
Monday, 20 April 2015
Notices April 25
Friday, 24 April 2015
Saturday, April 25 PET'S FOOD DRIVE Organised by PAWSITIVE SXM place: CostUless Time: 9:00am to... Read more...
Notices April 24
Thursday, 23 April 2015
Saturday, April 25 PET'S FOOD DRIVE Organised by PAWSITIVE SXM place: CostUless Time: 9:00am to... Read more...