Member of the Dutch Second Chamber of Parliament Sylvana Simons of the BM party, during a plenary meeting on Wednesday about the draft 2024 budget, brought up what she called the unequal relations within the Kingdom.
Simons said that in the relations, the Netherlands held the reins, while the six Dutch Caribbean islands “forever stayed behind in a subordinate position.” She said that the “failed” healthcare policy of the Netherlands in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba was “only one of the many indications of the unequal relations” within the Kingdom.
“The Dutch government really needs to stop accepting that the standard of living in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom is drastically and disastrously lower than in the Netherlands. But 400 years of colonialism and slavery that have resulted in a deplorable standard of living for Black people don’t create the same sense of urgency for White people. You can apologise for that, but where are the reparations?”
Simons advocated for implementing reparation measures in the form of a Kingdom consensus law, which would also repair the large inequality and the consequences of colonialism and slavery, whereby the affected communities would be in charge of the process.
According to Simons, a reparations package should be drafted in consultation with the islands, with the 10-point plan of the Caribbean Community CARICOM as a possible guideline. “With a sustainable binding policy which is secured in legislation, we ensure that repairs don’t depend on the goodwill of a government.”
The Netherlands would have to be responsible to ensure sufficient and structural financing for the reparations package. Simons said that reparations involved more than allocating 200 million euros on the government budget for awareness of the Dutch slavery past.
Simons was the only Member of Parliament who mentioned the Kingdom and the islands in her speaker’s time during Wednesday’s general debate in the Second Chamber about the draft budget.
The Daily Herald.