The Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament supports a hurricane-proof and sustainable construction of buildings in the Windward Islands in the reconstruction period after Hurricane Irma. Parliament adopted a motion to this extent on Tuesday.
All parties in the Second Chamber, except for the Party for Freedom PVV, supported the motion of Member of Parliament (MP) Liesbeth van Tongeren of the green left party GroenLinks which requested that the Dutch Government take the initiative, together with St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba, to construct buildings that are hurricane-proof and built in a sustainable manner.
Two other hurricane-recovery-related motions of MP Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP) did not receive sufficient support. Van Raak had presented a motion during the handling of the draft 2018 budget for Kingdom Relations last week Wednesday in which he requested that the Dutch Government not make use of the services of the accounting and consultancy firm KPMG during the reconstruction period in the Windward Islands.
Van Raak’s second motion, submitted together with MP Attje Kuiken of the Labour Party PvdA, sought to have the Dutch Government pay extra attention to those persons with a low income in St. Eustatius and Saba during the reconstruction after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Only a handful of opposition parties supported the motion.
Most other motions submitted during the handling of the 2018 budget for Kingdom Relations dealt with the Caribbean Netherlands islands Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, and touched on issues like children’s rights, subsidy arrangements for energy-saving measures in homes, an innovative agriculture policy, traineeships for young civil servants and the coordinating role of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK.
With the exception of the PVV, all parties voted for the motion of MP Stieneke van der Graaf of the Christian Union which called on the Dutch Government to continue its efforts to improve the situation for children in the Caribbean Netherlands and to inform the Parliament how the Government intends to achieve that.
“The Christian Union wants a better future for the children in the Caribbean Netherlands. The position and rights of children on the islands requires continuous attention. There is still a big difference between children who grow up in the Netherlands and those who grow up on the islands. The efforts of the past years need to be continued and the local knowhow and capacity in this area must be strengthened,” said Van der Graaf.
Van der Graaf’s motion was co-signed by MPs Andre Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party, Joba van den Berg of the Christian Democratic Party CDA, Antje Diertens of the Democratic Party D66, Van Tongeren of GroenLinks, Van Raak of the SP, Kuiken of the PvdA, Roelof Bisschop of the reformed SGP party and Tunahan Kuzu of the DENK party.
Van Tongeren’s motion that requested that the Dutch Government allow Caribbean Netherlands residents to make use of subsidy arrangements for energy-saving measures in their homes was carried by Parliament.
Also receiving broad support was the motion of Van den Berg (CDA) that requested that the Dutch Government present a proposal, together with the Caribbean Netherlands islands, to set up trainee programmes for young civil servants, with a possibility for an exchange programme with the Netherlands.
There was also broad support for Van den Berg’s second motion to initiate an innovative agricultural policy in the Caribbean Netherlands, together with the public entities and Wageningen University, to enable the islands to produce more of their own food, as this would reduce the need to import expensive food products.
The motion of Diertens (D66) that called for a more coordinating role of the BZK Ministry received broad support. The motion asked the Dutch Government to ensure that the individual Dutch Ministries would involve the BZK Ministry when drafting plans and allocating funds for the Caribbean Netherlands. This approach would strengthen the BZK Ministry’s coordinating role, promote an integral way of working and prevent fragmentation.
The Daily Herald.