THE HAGUE – The St. Maarten government is urging the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament not to stick to the current Kingdom Law proposal submitted by the Dutch government to establish a Dispute Regulation for the Kingdom.
St. Maarten Minister Plenipotentiary in The Hague, Jorien Wuite, will make this point clear during a hearing with experts and the ministers plenipotentiary next week Wednesday, May 29, in the Second Chamber. In anticipation of that meeting with the Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations, Wuite sent a position paper to the Dutch Parliament on Thursday.
Instead of sticking to the current law proposal, which doesn’t have the support of the three Dutch Caribbean countries, the St. Maarten government is urging the Second Chamber to consult with the countries in order to arrive at a fair Dispute Regulation.
“The Parliaments of the four countries in the Kingdom have a history of constructive cooperation where it comes to the Dispute Regulation. Let that remain so with the finish line in sight,” stated Wuite in the position paper which was published on Friday.
It is very important that a fair Dispute Regulation is established that has the support of all countries of the Kingdom. Wuite explained that the large difference in the scale and size between the countries of the Kingdom has resulted in a system in which the Netherlands, as the biggest country constitutionally, always has the last say in matters of the Kingdom.
The St. Maarten government finds it important that, especially in a constitutional constellation in which the largest country has the last say, an independent institution can see to it that the boundaries of authority by the Kingdom are not transgressed, Wuite pointed out.
“That is no sinecure and relates to the objective that we all have to strive for, namely that every handling by government has to be legitimate. That need has only increased after 2010 now that the Kingdom also has a say in areas that were formerly primarily country responsibilities, namely finances, public administration and jurisdiction,” she stated.
The St. Maarten government is particularly concerned about the fact that in the current law proposal there is no binding element in the Dispute Regulation, meaning that the Kingdom Council of Ministers can still deviate from a ruling under the Dispute Regulation, be it only for profound reasons.
“In the current law proposal, the Kingdom Council of Ministers can put aside a ruling under the Dispute Regulation, even if it is clearly found that a decision doesn’t comply with the Charter or another regulation,” Wuite stated.
The St. Maarten government would rather see the establishing of a new institution to rule in cases under the Dispute Regulation, but the government has sufficient confidence in the Council of State of the Kingdom.
The St. Maarten government concluded that the law proposal that is now on the table doesn’t comply with the criteria formulated by the four Parliaments of the Kingdom in the setting of the Inter-Parliamentary Consultation of the Kingdom IPKO. “Especially the fact that the final decision authority remains with the Kingdom Council of Ministers is very worrisome,” it said.
According to the St. Maarten government, the Second Chamber should therefore ask itself whether the Dispute Regulation as proposed would contribute to fair and constitutionally clear relations within the Kingdom if the Kingdom Council of Ministers could put aside an independent ruling on the execution of its authority.
Wuite will attend a hearing of the Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations on May 29. Invited for this meeting have been the ministers plenipotentiary of the three Dutch Caribbean countries and several experts on constitutional law.
Four of these experts, senior lecturer Gerhard Hoogers of University of Groningen, professor Arjen van Rijn of University of Curaçao, lecturer Gohar Karapetian of University of Groningen and professor Gert Oostindie of Leiden University, have also submitted position papers.
The Second Chamber has organised the hearing in anticipation of the handling of the Kingdom law proposal for a Dispute Regulation for the Kingdom this summer.