Member of the Dutch Second Chamber of Parliament Jorien Wuite of the Democratic Party D66 is concerned that the discrepancy in policy and legislation between the Netherlands and the Caribbean Netherlands is starting to form two legal orders.
Just before the summer recess, the Second Chamber spoke about the manner in which the “comply or explain” principle was being applied to Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. These three islands are part of the Netherlands. The point of departure of the comply or explain principle is that all policy intensifications and resulting legislation and/or financial consequences are applicable to the Caribbean Netherlands, unless there arc reasons not to do so. This means that local circumstances demand custom-fit actions.
According to Wuite, residents, businesses and local politicians on a daily basis experience how “obstinate” this policy is. “The 1,800 laws and regulations that are so common in the Netherlands are not for the Caribbean Netherlands islands. Two legal orders are starting to form,” she stated during a so-called two-minute plenary debate last Wednesday.
Wuite subsequently submitted a motion that asked the Dutch government to prepare an overview before the end of this year that detailed which Dutch legislation was applicable to the Caribbean Netherlands and which are the special regulations that apply to them. The motion also asked the government to actively inform citizens about this.
Wuite’s motion was motivated by the fact that government has started to map the new legislation and regulations, but that there was no overview of the law and regulations that are already in place for the three islands. According to Wuite, it was “totally unclear” which regulations were applicable to the Caribbean Netherlands residents, social organisations and local politicians.
Dutch caretaker State Secretary of Kingdom Relations and Digitisation Alexandra van Huffelen did not object to the motion. She agreed that it was important for “everyone who is active, resides on, works or does business on the islands knows which laws are applicable to them.” Van Huffelen stated that this overview could be drafted in the near future and she promised Parliament that this would be done in a manner that was clear and understandable for the people. Wuite’s motion will be voted on next week Tuesday.
The Daily Herald.