Wednesday, Nov 26th

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

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.

Motorbike rider injured in Sandy Ground accident
Wednesday, 26 November 2014
MARIGOT--A motorcyclist was injured Tuesday afternoon in Sandy Ground when he lost control of his... Read more...
Image
St. Maarten shows support for Key to Freedom rehab
Wednesday, 26 November 2014
ST. PETERS--Recovering addict Jacob Alexander and his family joined friends, supporters, staff and... Read more...
Image
Honeymooner fined for diverting Cuba-bound Thomas Cook flight
Wednesday, 26 November 2014
HAMILTON, Bermuda--An unruly British passenger hauled off a diverted Cuba-bound flight after... Read more...
Image
Bill Cosby performs in Bahamas amid sexual assault allegations
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
NASSAU, Bahamas--As the sexual assault allegations continued to pile up back home in the United... Read more...
Image
More US troops deployed to guard against fresh riots
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
FERGUSON, Missouri- Missouri's governor ordered hundreds more National Guard troops on Tuesday to a... Read more...
Fat to blame for half a million cancers a year
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
LONDON--Some half a million cases of cancer a year are due to people being overweight or obese, and... Read more...
Image
Stop Mediterranean becoming vast migrant cemetery, Pope tells Europe
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
STRASBOURG, France--Pope Francis told Europe's leaders on Tuesday to do more to help thousands of... Read more...
Image
Hong Kong clears part of protest zone
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
HONG KONG--Hong Kong riot police arrested 80 pro-democracy protesters on Tuesday in running clashes... Read more...
Image
India central bank under pressure to cut interest rates as growth slips
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
NEW DELHI--India's economic growth probably slowed to around 5 percent in the three months to... Read more...
Image
Delta's breakaway union struggles to win support
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
NEW YORK--A group of Delta Air Lines pilots seeking to replace the current pilots' union at the... Read more...
Image
Suggestion to incoming Gov’t of St. Maarten
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Dear Editor, It has been a very long time since I have been contemplating that the new Government... Read more...
Image
Haunted by the past
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Dear Queenie, This girl I dated for several years eventually dumped me without any explanation... Read more...
Image
Team Lagravière and Jarlegan win 7th St. Barths Cata Cup
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
ST. BARTHS--Morgan Lagravière and Arnaud Jarlegan on Archictonik won the seventh edition of the... Read more...
Image
GEBE wins Corporate Class in Tropical Shipping Duathlon
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
The corporate class, the brain child of Tropical Shipping’s island manager, Jeffrey de La Combe,... Read more...
Image
Horrible Bosses 2 reunites goofball trio for kidnapping
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
LOS ANGELES--After an unsuccessful attempt to murder their "Horrible Bosses" in the 2011 hit... Read more...
Image
Cumberbatch hails unsung hero in The Imitation Game
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
NEW YORK--Like many people, British actor Benedict Cumberbatch knew very little about Alan Turing,... Read more...
Image
Time to give thanks!
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
~ Feel good and healthy ~ The Holidays are upon us and those of you on St. Maarten celebrating... Read more...
Image
Glenda Severin
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
SMMC medical professional Glenda Severin Glenda Severin takes her role as Hygiene and Infection... Read more...
Editorial - Immediate and direct
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
For the second time in three months a worker fell from a height while doing his job in St. Maarten... Read more...
Editorial - Keeping them honest
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Some may be surprised to learn in today's paper of the "no gift policy" at the Departments of... Read more...
Image
Tuesday Nov. 25, 2014
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Image
Monday Nov. 24, 2014
Monday, 24 November 2014
Notices November 26
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Saturday, November 29 FREE HIV TEST Organised by St. Maarten AIDS Foundation for World AIDS Day... Read more...
Notices November 25
Monday, 24 November 2014
French Team French Baseball Federation and St. Martin Pony Baseball/Softball League are seeking... Read more...