Parliament wants to know why islands were left out

The Second Chamber of the Dutch Parlia­ment demanded clarity from the Dutch government on Tuesday as to why the families in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba are not benefitting from the additional one billion euros that will become available for the child allowance, the child day-care allowance and the child-related budget per Jan­uary 1, 2019.

Member of Parliament (MP) Nevin Özütok of the green left party GroenLinks addressed the matter during a plenary meeting on Tuesday. She said that while last week’s announcement about the additional one billion euros was good news for the parents in the Netherlands who needed that
money, the government should not forget about the three Dutch public entities.

“Who also could make very good use of that money are the parents in the Caribbean Netherlands. Precisely this group does not ben­efit from this extra budget,” said Özütok, who requested a debate with State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops and State Secre­tary of Social Affairs and Labour Tamara van Ark on this subject, as well as a letter from the Dutch government.

Several other parties in the Sec­ond Chamber expressed support, but mostly only for the request for a clarifying letter. MP Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Par­ty (SP) said there were more things that affected the stan­dard of living on the islands, such as the establishing of a social minimum, which has been delayed.

Van Raak said the quickest way to get clarity was to ask for a letter and to schedule a meeting with the state sec­retary about children’s rights in the Caribbean Nether­lands. MP Andre Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party remarked that measures had been taken to raise the child allowance on the islands. He said he would await the report on the social minimum.

MP’s Joba van den Berg of the Christian Democrat Party CDA, Antje Diertens of the Democrat D66 party and Carla Dik-Faber of the ChristianUnion supported Özütok’s request for a letter, but not a debate in the short term. The parties preferred to include this topic in a fu­ture debate about the social minimum.

The Labour Party PvdA, the DENK party and the Party for Animals PvdD supported Özütok’s request for a letter and a debate. This means that there was sufficient sup­port for a so-called 30-mem­ber debate. A letter will also be requested from the Dutch government.

MP’s Van den Berg and Di­ertens on Tuesday posed a number of written questions to Knops and Van Ark about this same issue. The MP’s urged the Dutch government to take action to combat pov­erty among children in the Caribbean Netherlands.
“Do you share our view that poverty among children needs to be eradicated, also in the Caribbean Nether­lands? What measures will you be taking to combat pov­erty among children in the Caribbean Netherlands in the short term?”

The MP’s urged the state secretaries to establish a social minimum as soon as possible so a decision could be taken on the size of the social allowances in the Ca­ribbean Netherlands. They asked the state secretaries to ensure that the new deadline of July I for the publication of the social minimum report would be met.

The Daily Herald.

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