Member of the Second Chamber Nevin Özütok (GroenLinks) is deeply disappointed in the answer from State Secretary Raymond Knops of Kingdom Relations to her written questions about the criticism of National Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen on the fact that the Dutch government lets continue the poverty in the Caribbean Netherlands and inequality with the European Netherlands.
“Everyone now knows how distressing the poverty on the BES islands is, but the cabinet remains blind and hearing deaf,” said Özütok, who said that she would continue to “struggle” until the Rutte Cabinet starts to make serious efforts to combat poverty on Bonaire. Sint Eustatius and Saba.
The MP’s questions were prompted by Van Zutphen’s performance at the presentation a few weeks ago in Leiden, of the book on Caribbean constitutional law by Prof. Arjen van Rijn. The ombudsman argued there that in his view the Dutch government deserves to be given an instruction in the Council of Ministers for neglecting its responsibility towards the citizens of the Caribbean Netherlands.
According to the answer that he sent to the Chamber today, Knops is not pleased with Van Zutphen’s criticism. “The National Ombudsman does not play a role in the inter-administrative supervision of the countries by the Kingdom. I see no role for the National Ombudsman in this issue”.
Ombudsman Van Zutphen is not known to be willingly served by a minister who is stepped on his toes. He is currently on the islands with a team to speak to citizens who feel ill-treated by the government. Later this year he will also present the results of the poverty investigation on the BES islands.