The Daily Herald writes that member of the First Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Ruard Ganzevoort of the green left party GroenLinks is the new Chairman of the Senate’s Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations.
Ganzevoort (50) was recently appointed by the Presidium of the First Chamber for four years. A fair division of the portfolios of the political parties in the Senate was taken into account in this decision of the Presidium.
Ganzevoort, a Member of the Senate since June 2011 and a member of the Kingdom Relations Committee, is replacing Marijke Linthorst who chaired the Kingdom Relations Committee for the last five years and who left the Senate late May this year.
Ganzevoort had indicated that he was interested in becoming the committee’s chairman. “I said that I would love to take responsibility, also because of the committee’s role and the portfolio of Kingdom Relations. I am very happy with the appointment,” he told The Daily Herald on Wednesday.
The evaluation of the constitutional status of the former Netherlands Antilles islands will be one of the most important themes in the period ahead, said Ganzevoort. “It will demand a lot of attention on both sides of the ocean. It is also important that the voices of all islands are heard in the evaluation process,” he said.
A second issue that will have the attention of the new chairman is the quality of life in the Dutch Caribbean, and related topics such as economic and social development, health care, education and the quality of government. Especially in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba there is discontent about the practical aspects of their new constitutional status in the Dutch public entities.
Together with the committee, Ganzevoort wants to make an effort to look after the best interests of the people of the islands. He said that the committee strived for unity and that political differences were mostly of lesser importance in the committee. “Of course there are different political opinions and naturally that is allowed, but mostly we do things in unity.
Ganzevoort said he would like to continue working on this unity in the committee. The colleagues of the Dutch Caribbean countries have his support. But, he added, “They also have to take their responsibility and give solid content to their role.”
Ganzevoort, also Vice- Chairman of the Senate’s Permanent Committee for Education, Culture and Science, has visited the Dutch Caribbean several times. He is Professor of Practical Theology at Amsterdam’s VU University on a full-time basis, is co-owner of Hotel De Admiraal in Utrecht, is a former preacher and has five sons.
Senator Thom de Graaf of the Democratic Party D66 has been appointed Vice- Chairman of the Kingdom Relations Committee. De Graaf, a seasoned politician, was already a member of the committee and took over the position from Frank van Kappen of the liberal democratic VVD party. De Graaf is a former Minister of Kingdom Relations.
On Tuesday, the Senate unanimously re-elected Ankie Broekers-Knol (VVD) as its Chairperson. Broekers- Knol was the sole candidate for the function. The new Chairperson was elected after one voting round. All seventy Senators present voted in favour of Broekers- Knol.