The Party for the Animals in the Dutch Parliament has voted for Saba in the public elections of the Most Beautiful Nature Area in the Netherlands, stated Senator Christine Teunissen during a plenary debate on Tuesday. She encouraged others to do so as well.
Teunissen made mention of Saba’s nomination in the Most Beautiful Nature Area of the Netherlands election of the Ministry of Economic Affairs during a debate in the First Chamber of the Dutch Parliament, the Senate, to secure the constitutional position of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba in the Dutch Constitution.
Saba with its marine park and national park of in total 1,300 hectares was selected as one of the thirteen nominees by an expert jury, chaired by Professor Dr. Pieter van Vollenhoven, who announced the nominees on Monday.
“My party voted for Saba, not only because it is one of the most beautiful nature areas that we have in the Netherlands, but also because it is one of the most threatened and less protected nature areas of our country,” stated Teunissen.
According to the Senator, cooperation with the islands should not be limited to funds and “dead letters in legislative books” even if they are stated in the Constitution. “You cannot live or go on a walk in a Constitution; the endangered nature cannot survive in it.”
Teunissen called on Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk to contribute more than nice words in the Constitution, and to apply the no-words-but-deeds policy to protect the vulnerable nature. “Let’s really treat the animals, nature and the environment on the islands as being part of the Netherlands.”
The Senator also pointed out that legislation to criminally prosecute animal abuse and neglect was limited in the Caribbean Netherlands because animal welfare is an autonomous affair of the Island Governments.
Minister Plasterk, though sympathetic to Teunissen’s plea for more protection of the Caribbean Netherlands nature, was careful not to give in too much. “I would be getting on thin ice constitutionally if I were to also make a call to vote for Saba, so I will not do that. Fact is that half of all animal species in the Kingdom live in Saba’s coral reefs, so that is a source of great diversity.”
Plasterk stated that he appreciated the efforts of the Party for Animals to dedicate special attention to the nature in that “beautiful part” of the Kingdom during the handling of the first reading of the law proposal to amend the Constitution to secure the constitutional position of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. The Senate is expected to vote in favour of this law proposal on October 25.
The Daily Herald.