Thursday, Jul 02nd

LATEST:
You are here: Islands Islands News Richardson is not against commonwealth structure

health-city-587x73-3

Richardson is not against commonwealth structure

AMSTERDAM--St. Maarten Justice Minister Dennis Richardson surprised everyone at the debate on the future of the Dutch Kingdom of de Volkskrant newspaper in Amsterdam on Sunday by stating that he had no objections to looser ties with the Netherlands, possibly in a commonwealth structure.

"A commonwealth construction is not a strange thought," said Richardson in a debate with Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk and Caribbean history Professor Gert Oostindie.

However, Richardson added, his commonwealth idea should not be compared to the proposal that Members of Parliament of the Second Chamber André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party and Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP) presented just before the summer.

Richardson spoke of a "conditioned commonwealth construction" whereby St. Maarten for example would be free to close a deal with the United States of America to jointly combat crime if the Dutch Government refused to help.

The Justice Minister said it could not be that The Hague walked away from its responsibilities to assist in keeping St. Maarten and its surrounding waters safe from drug smuggling and human trafficking, leaving a small country like St. Maarten to fight this battle on its own.

Minister Plasterk was highly surprised by Richardson's commonwealth statement. "I am hearing this for the first time." He warned that the commonwealth process was not without risks as the Netherlands could at one point in the future say that it would let go of St. Maarten. Richardson replied that taking risks was part of life.

Prof. Oostindie reasoned that the entire issue on independence or a commonwealth status should be "off the table," because that is not what the people on the islands of the former Netherlands Antilles want. "There is no doubt about the people wanting to get out of the Kingdom," he said.

The new constitutional relations that went into effect on October 10, 2010 whereby Curaçao and St. Maarten attained the status of Country within the Kingdom and Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba became public entities of the Netherlands have been somewhat disappointing for many. But that does not mean, however, that the islands want to exit the Kingdom. He said there were many advantages to be had as a former colony.

During the debate Minister Richardson several times ventilated his discontent about the recent decision of the Kingdom Council of Ministers to order an independent integrity audit of St. Maarten's Government. According to the St. Maarten Government, the Council wrongly used article 51 of the Regulation of the Governor to give Governor Eugene Holiday an instruction to facilitate this audit.

Richardson repeatedly said that St. Maarten did not have a problem with an integrity audit. He said government also found it important to take a good look at the level of integrity. "We need an investigation to clear our name or to tackle wrongdoings if there are any. We need clarity: is corruption rampant or is it just an occasional incident?" he said.

St. Maarten had proposed to carry out an integrity audit together with the Netherlands. However, the Kingdom Council refused. Plasterk said, as he has done on earlier occasions, that it was imperative to have an independent audit, meaning an investigation without an active role for the St. Maarten Government. He said he supported cooperating with Philipsburg on this matter. But, he added, "The Governor has to be in charge. That is our prerequisite."

Richardson was highly critical of the attitude of the Second Chamber where it came to St. Maarten. He said St. Maarten refused to be the sacrificial lamb for local Dutch political consumption and the interest of certain Members of Parliament. "What does the Netherlands want? Does it want us to go or stay?"

According to Richardson, St. Maarten's image in The Hague was influenced by "perception and one-liners." He said cooperation should be the key in the relations with the Netherlands, and not "suppression" by The Hague.

The recent advice of St. Maarten's Social Economic Council to get out of the monetary union with Curaçao and to dollarize also came up during Sunday's debate. Richardson said this was not a matter of taking revenge on Curaçao for the years of neglect when St. Maarten was still part of the Netherlands Antilles. "It is simply surviving. Curaçao is causing the deficit on the balance of payments," he said.

Plasterk said that having a joint Central Bank for Curaçao and St. Maarten had its advantages. He remarked that being a small country with an own Central Bank posed a threat whereby the Central Bank could become the "pet" of the local government. Having an independent financial supervisory organ was important, he said.

Richardson replied that with a dollarized economy St. Maarten wouldn't need to have a Central Bank, just a supervising entity.

Sunday's debate was led by Volkskrant reporters Remco Meijer and Laura de Jong. Curaçao singer Kris Berry, who spent part of her youth in St. Maarten, gave the event a musical touch. The well-attended event started with a column by former NOS news reader and journalist Noraly Beyer.

Image
Dutch ban public gatherings after riots over Aruban death
Friday, 03 July 2015
THE HAGUE--Police in The Hague fired warning shots and arrested 34 people during a third straight... Read more...
Arrested Kadaster head to sit out 475 days for social-benefit fraud
Friday, 03 July 2015
~Ordered to pay back 38,500 euros~ PHILIPSBURG--Kadaster Director Clemens Roos, who was arrested... Read more...
Image
OECS condemns Dominican Republic deportations, European Union blacklist
Thursday, 02 July 2015
ST. GEORGE'S, Grenada--The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) has joined the growing... Read more...
Image
We have our own Greece in the Caribbean: Puerto Rico
Wednesday, 01 July 2015
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico--Puerto Rico cannot repay its debts. The governor of the island, Alejandro... Read more...
Image
Lawsuit filed against America over protections for rare wolf
Thursday, 02 July 2015
WASHINGTON--A coalition of environmental groups filed a lawsuit on Thursday against U.S. wildlife... Read more...
Image
All clear after false alarm over shots at Washington Navy Yard
Thursday, 02 July 2015
WASHINGTON--Police issued an "all clear" on Thursday after a false alarm about gunshots fired at... Read more...
Image
Germany says new reports of US spying harm security ties
Thursday, 02 July 2015
BERLIN/WASHINGTON--Germany is taking seriously the latest reports about U.S. spying on senior... Read more...
Image
Brazil police arrest another former Petrobras executive
Thursday, 02 July 2015
SAO PAULO--Brazilian police arrested Jorge Zelada, former director of Petrobras' international... Read more...
Image
IMF warns Greece of huge financial hole
Friday, 03 July 2015
ATHENS/WASHINGTON--The International Monetary Fund delivered a stark warning on Thursday of the... Read more...
Image
BP reaches $18.7 billion settlement over 2010 spill
Friday, 03 July 2015
HOUSTON--BP Plc will pay up to $18.7 billion in penalties to the U.S. government and five states... Read more...
Image
Request to Prosecutor Kamps: ‘Do not hold Judith on trumped up charges’
Thursday, 02 July 2015
Dear Editor, Please allow me some space in your newspaper to address Prosecutor Tineke Kamps.... Read more...
Image
Not a mind-reader
Thursday, 02 July 2015
Dear Queenie, I was planning a surprise party for my husband’s birthday and sent out a lot of... Read more...
Image
Business Soccer Tournament
Thursday, 02 July 2015
FC Soualiga women’s soccer team, will  hosting their third annual Business Soccer Tournament... Read more...
Image
Nadal loss sends shockwaves round Wimbledon
Thursday, 02 July 2015
LONDON-- The untroubled advance of the heavy hitters at Wimbledon was spectacular halted on... Read more...
Image
Jada Pinkett Smith on being the feminist force of Magic Mike XXL
Thursday, 02 July 2015
LOS ANGELES--From playing the villainous, manipulative Fish Mooney on Fox's Batman origins TV... Read more...
Rolling Stones will stage major career exhibit at London gallery
Thursday, 02 July 2015
LONDON--Veteran rockers The Rolling Stones will put on their first major exhibition looking at... Read more...
Image
Just Ask Aggie!
Thursday, 02 July 2015
Welcome to the first edition of "Just Ask Aggie", where the knowledgeable Aggie answers your... Read more...
Image
Celebrating 4th of July
Tuesday, 30 June 2015
~ American Independence Day ~ With the progress of globalization, July Fourth is arguably the most... Read more...
Editorial - Time running out
Thursday, 02 July 2015
It appears a General Measure of Kingdom Governance to impose an Integrity Chamber on St. Maarten... Read more...
Editorial - Let justice run its course
Wednesday, 01 July 2015
What happened to Mitch Henriquez in The Hague is obviously regrettable. The Aruban who was visiting... Read more...
Image
Thursday July. 02, 2015
Thursday, 02 July 2015
Image
Tuesday June. 30, 2015
Tuesday, 30 June 2015
Notices July 3
Thursday, 02 July 2015
Teachers, Volunteers Needed I Too Can Learn (ITCL) Foundation is seeking teachers (Special Ed) and... Read more...
Notices July 2
Wednesday, 01 July 2015
Teachers, Volunteers Needed I Too Can Learn (ITCL) Foundation is seeking teachers (Special Ed) and... Read more...