The combined list of the Dutch Labour Party PvdA and the green left party GroenLinks dedicates a full page to Kingdom Relations in its 2023-2027 election programme, more than any other party thus far. The parties express full support for the islands and the Kingdom.
PvdA and GroenLinks pledged to continue the talks in the entire Kingdom about the colonial and slavery past, the continued effects and needed recovery. The parties want to invest in strengthening the democratic legal order in the entire Kingdom. “This way, we create a solid basis for trust in government, diversity in the communities and legal security through the equality of laws in our Kingdom.”
The PvdA and GroenLinks committed to working on improving the situation of residents of Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten with assistance and money, using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations as a guideline.
“The balance of power between the Netherlands and the Caribbean countries in our Kingdom will be evened out and the democratic deficit will be solved,” stated the parties, which explained that currently Kingdom laws were handled in the Dutch Parliament and that the countries could not submit a Kingdom law and vote on these law proposals.
“It is high time to adapt the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands to enable this. We are in favour of implementing a Dispute Regulation between the countries in the Kingdom with a ‘judge’ that can give binding decisions.” The PvdA and GroenLinks want to stimulate the development of two regions, the Leeward Islands and Windward Islands, thereby putting aside constitutional structures as much as possible. Businesses on the islands should maximally profit from Dutch regulations such as guarantee stipulations, environmental subsidies and investment funds.
Students from the Dutch Caribbean in the Netherlands will receive support with housing, adapting to language and culture, study choice, coaching and going home after studying. Education in the Caribbean countries will receive support, financially and with know-how.
A social minimum will be implemented for the inhabitants of the Caribbean Netherlands islands Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba and measures will be carried out that guarantee that no one lives under this minimum. The classic and social constitutional rights fully apply to the Caribbean part of the Netherlands. “Together with the islands, we work on a solid approach to tackle the consequences of climate change and we invest in the protection of vulnerable nature on and around the islands. We offer the communities the necessary space and support to give direction and content to their future. We support the desire to strengthen one’s own identity and culture.”
The parties are in favour of an island-specific approach, and measures are only taken in consultation with local representatives and experts, taking their priorities and limited capacity into consideration. Education and employment of local people will be actively supported.
The Caribbean Netherlands islands require sufficient funding to execute their tasks. In St. Eustatius, full democracy will be restored as soon as possible. And lastly, the parties want to remove all obstacles for trade between the countries and islands of the Kingdom, possibly through a Customs Union.
The election programme titled “Together for a hopeful future” was presented on Tuesday and will be voted on by the members of the parties during a congress on October 14. The Dutch parliamentary elections are on November 22. PvdA Leader in the Second Chamber Attje Kuiken is a prominent member of the Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations.
The Daily Herald.