Van Huffelen wants to visit islands soon

New State Secretary of Kingdom rela­tions and Digitalising Alex­andra van Huffelen said on Monday that she wants to visit the Dutch Caribbean islands as soon as possible.

“I look forward to meet­ing the people in the Carib­bean part of the Kingdom,” she stated on Twitter after the swearing in ceremony at Palace Noordeinde. In the afternoon, Van Huffel­en and her predecessor Raymond Knops signed the transfer documents at the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK.

New State Secretary of Kingdom Relations and Digitalising Alexandra van Huffelen. {Ministry of BZK photo)

It is not known as yet when the new state secre­tary, who is a member of the Democratic party D66, will visit the islands. On January 19, she will be pres­ent at her first debate with the Permanent Commit­tee for Kingdom Relations of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament to discuss developments in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.

On January 21, Van Huffelen will partake in a meeting of the Kingdom Council of Ministers where a couple of difficult and important decisions have to be made with regard to the next tranche of liquidity support for Aruba and the deviation from the Finan­cial Supervision Law to al­low Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten to have a budget deficit.

Aruba Prime Minister Ev­elyn Wever-Croes on Mon­day sent a letter to outgo­ing State Secretary Knops to thank him, on behalf of the people of Aruba, for the cooperation in the past four years, and especially for the support during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Even though we did not always agree on things, together and with mutual respect, we did achieve important milestones for Aruba and for the King­dom. Not all our goals were met, but together we made important steps for a strong and resilient Aruba, and we are very grateful for that. I wish you the very best in the future,” said Wever-Croes in her short letter to Knops.

Bonaire Commissioner James Kroon also thanked Knops for his work, also for trying to improve the rela­tions between the islands, in particular the Carib­bean Netherlands, and The Hague. Kroon said that with the input and collabo­ration of Knops, Bonaire was able to set a number of steps forward in the area of finances, good governance and infrastructure.

The Bonaire Commission­er also praised Knops for bringing colleague minis­ters and state secretaries to the Caribbean Netherlands on his working visits so they could see the bottlenecks for themselves. “I am sure that I speak on behalf of many people in Bonaire when I say thank you to Raymond Knops for his input and wish him success for the future,” said Kroon.

Both Kroon and Wever-Croes welcomed new State Secretary Van Huffelen and said they looked forward to working with her, in a good atmosphere of collabora­tion and mutual respect in benefit of the islands and the kingdom.

“D66 has shown in the past years that it wants the best for the Caribbean Netherlands, so I am con­fident that we can do good things together in the corn­ing years. I hope that the new state secretary will come soon to meet us,” said Kroon.

Wever-Croes said she had a positive first digital meet­ing with the new state sec­retary on Monday. “She showed a lot of interest for Aruba and the other coun­tries in the kingdom. I am sure that it will be an inter­esting period during which we will accomplish great things for Aruba. I told her that I hope we can have solid relations in which we take each other’s visions and values into consider­ation so together we can develop new opportunities within the kingdom and we can again stand on our own feet.”

Wever-Croes said in a press release that Van Huffelen showed a lot of interest on how things were going in general in Aruba, how the economy and healthcare were faring. She informed the state sec­retary that despite the high COVID-19 infections, the situation at the hospital was under control.

She also said that Aruba was managing the fact that the United States has put the island in a higher risk category, and that even though there are cancella­tions, it was a good sign that tourists were still visiting.

The Daily Herald.

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