|Lower Chamber: ‘What does the population of Curaçao want?’|
|Thursday, 25 October 2012 16:16|
THE HAGUE — This question was the main issue during the first debate after the Parliament Elections instead of the budget from the Ministry of Kingdom Relations for 2013. In a first written reaction Minister Liesbeth Spies of the Interior and Kingdom Relations remarked that a choice for independence will in any case be quite a job.
By our correspondent
Although all parties emphasized repeatedly that the choice is eventually up to the people of Curaçao, a majority of VVD, PvdA, SP, PVV and CDA said the election result was a clear signal. After two years of corruption and financial chaos the people of Curaçao chose for continuation of the coalition Pueblo Soberano, MFK and MAN, they said. “Now that Pueblo Soberano is the largest party, (PS-leader Helmin) Wiels has the unique chance to follow the course of his choice, one he had argued for so long. If this is the wish of Curaçao we are prepared to assist”, said Lower Chamber member Martijn van Dam (PvdA). Lower Chamber member Madeleine van Toorenburg (CDA) said: “It is up to the people of Curaçao. If they declare themselves through a referendum for complete independence, so be it.”
Ronald van Raak from SP repeated his request to Wiels to call a referendum. “Despite my close involvement with Curaçao and my healthy respect for the people on the island, I ask how we go from here. The love has been injured and the separation has begun.” According to Van Raak, the people could also choose to maintain the Kingdom’s relation, but pointed out the huge dilemma if Wiels and former premier Gerrit Schotte are in government.
D66, GroenLinks, ChristenUnie and SGP don’t wish to anticipate the facts. The new Lower Chamber member Roelof Bisschop (SGP) suggested giving Curaçao some time. “Let’s especially not forget – considering the necessary experience we acquired in our own decolonization – how difficult it is for a country to form a new independent country”, he said. Wassila Hachchi from D66 pointed out that the electoral result wasn’t a veiled referendum. “Numerous themes were an issue during the elections but I understood independence wasn’t one of the themes. The people are eventually to decide on independence (…). Until them it is up to the new government to fulfill the promises within the bounds of the constitution and the Charter and our guarantee function still exists, said Hachchi. Also Gert Jan Segers from ChristenUnie accused part of the Lower Chamber of unjustly pressing for independence. “Not even five percent of the people had declared themselves in favor of independence with the last referendum. Approximately twenty percent voted for the party from Mr. Wiels with a broad program, not only for the wish for independence”, he said. André Bosman from VVD replied that he didn’t actually want to press for independence but rather wanted to emphasize there are no impediments.
The outgoing minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Liesbeth Spies, had already answered several questions today in writing. She indicated there are indeed no impediments. “The Constitution stipulates that the decision on calling a referendum occurs through national regulation; it is therefore up to the government and the Parliament of Curaçao to decide on this”, said Spies. “From a strictly judicial point of view amendment of the Charter beforehand is not necessary. However, for a smooth transition to independence it is desirable to amend the Charter first.” Spies further mentioned the necessity to arrange the apportionment of the estate in consultation with the other countries, to make an arrangement for the Central Bank – which is currently still shared with St. Maarten – and the Communal Court of Justice and the attorney general. In reply to questions from Lower Chamber member Sietse Fritsma (PVV) she indicated that the Netherlands doesn’t have any possibilities to leave the Kingdom. “The international law acknowledges the right to self-determination – meaning, the right to decide whether or not to severe the ties within the Kingdom – to former colonies such as Curaçao, but not to the old mother country, such as the Netherlands.”