Ollengren, Knops start as Minister, State Secretary

Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk relinquished his tasks on Thursday and transferred his portfolio to the new Minister Kajsa 0llongren and State Secretary Raymond Knops.

During a short ceremony at the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations, Plasterk (Labour Party PvdA) and 0llongren (Democratic Party D66) signed the transfer documents, after which 0llongren and Knops (Christian Democratic Party CDA) signed a paper defining the division of tasks between the two of them. Knops will be in charge of Kingdom Relations, while 0llongren will focus on Home Affairs. She is also Vice-prime Minister.

Knops has been serving as a Member of the Second Chamber of Dutch Parliament for 11 years, specialised in Defence and Foreign Affairs. 0llongren was Alderman in Amsterdam, and Deputy Mayor.

Knops has told the media in a short statement earlier this week that he was looking forward to his new, challenging job. He promised to visit the Dutch Caribbean soon. Sources say he may visit St. Maarten first in connection with the Reconstruction Fund.

The new Rutte III cabinet was sworn in on Thursday. Members of the Second Chamber Andre Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party and Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP) were both very positive about Knops. They referred to Knops as “committed, honest and straightforward.” “It is a pleasant person, he is absolutely sharp, straightforward and honest,” said

Bosman, who knows Knops since he entered the Parliament in 2010 as they were both in the Permanent Committee for Defence. Bosman said that many challenges were awaiting the new State Secretary: St. Maarten’s reconstruction, the concerns about crime on the islands, governance issues and the eradication of poverty in the Caribbean Netherlands.

“He is a seasoned, strong politician, someone with a clear message. Not someone who is impressed by big words and political games,” Van Raak told this newspaper when asked about the new State Secretary.

The Daily Herald.

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