Wednesday, Apr 01st

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."

Educator shares experience with learning disabilities
Wednesday, 01 April 2015
~ Makes do with available support ~ DUTCH QUARTER--There have been recent calls for more insight... Read more...
Best investigates plans for minor to perform at Carnival concert
Wednesday, 01 April 2015
PHILIPSBURG--The Inspectorate of Labour will be looking into the intended performance of an... Read more...
Image
Traditional herbal remedies used to treat chikungunya in Antigua
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
ST JOHN'S, Antigua--Last summer Sira Berzas (38) from Antigua and Barbuda was struck down with... Read more...
Image
Antigua Prime Minister calls ‘plans’ for new airline to compete against LIAT ‘treason’
Monday, 30 March 2015
ST. JOHN'S, Antigua--Regional airline LIAT said Monday that it had taken note of the statements... Read more...
Image
Armed prisoner who fled Virginia hospital captured in Washington
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
WASHINGTON--An armed prisoner who fled a suburban Washington hospital with a guard's gun on Tuesday... Read more...
Image
Indiana governor vows to 'fix' law lambasted for curbing gay rights
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
INDIANAPOLIS--Indiana's Republican Governor Mike Pence, responding to national outrage over the... Read more...
Image
Iran nuclear talks miss deadline, Russia says "key aspects" agreed
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
LAUSANNE, Switzerland--Six world powers and Iran missed a Tuesday deadline to reach an outline... Read more...
Image
Buhari wins historic landslide in Nigeria
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
ABUJA--Three decades after seizing power in a military coup, Muhammadu Buhari became the first... Read more...
Image
Wall Street earnings estimates may not foretell dollar impact
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
NEW YORK--Wall street analysts may be inadequately accounting for the dollar's sharp rise in the... Read more...
Image
Greece fails to reach initial deal on reforms with lenders
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
ATHENS--Greece failed to reach an initial deal with the European Union and the IMF to unlock aid... Read more...
Image
Construction location
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
Dear Editor, Who would've thought it? Only in St. Maarten could it have happened. A casino built in... Read more...
Image
Disgusted
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
Dear Queenie, This guy I’ve been dating is just wonderful except for one thing. He has this huge... Read more...
Image
Netherlands haunt Spain with 2-0 friendly win
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
AMSTERDAM-- Netherlands revived bitter Spanish memories from last year's World Cup finals when they... Read more...
Italy boss and UCI at odds over Astana
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
PARIS-- The Italian federation (FIC) and the International Cycling Union (UCI) have clashed over... Read more...
Image
Comics skewer apologetic Bieber at celebrity roast
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
NEW YORK--Pop sensation Justin Bieber, the subject of some unflattering headlines in recent years,... Read more...
Aspiro soars as star-struck investors miss Jay-Z deal
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
STOCKHOLM--Shares in Aspiro soared by 1,000 percent on Tuesday as investors clamoured for a stake... Read more...
Image
Easter
Wednesday, 01 April 2015
~ Traditions of a different kind~ In the wine-country village of Haux in France, a 30-year-old... Read more...
Image
Dine@ Anse Marcel Beach
Wednesday, 01 April 2015
~ Surprises at every turn ~ Sunday dawned and we sluggishly got up for breakfast. Actually, the... Read more...
Editorial - Time to move on
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
That the Council of Ministers decided to "follow up" on the 15 recommendations of the... Read more...
Editorial - Not helpful
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
The postponement of yet another Parliament meeting on Monday (see related story) raises doubts... Read more...
Image
Wednesday Apr. 01, 2015
Wednesday, 01 April 2015
Image
Tuesday Mar. 31, 2015
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
Notices April 1
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
Baseball Training St. Maarten Baseball Association invites players ages 15 to 21 to a... Read more...
Notices March 31
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
Report Card Sundial School makes known that students' Term 2 Report Card can be picked up on... Read more...