A large majority of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Tuesday adopted all three motions that were submitted during last week’s debate about the social minimum and children’s rights in the Caribbean Netherlands.
The first motion, submitted by Member of Parliament (MP) Nevin Özütok of the green left party GroenLinks, requests the Dutch government to facilitate that additional, flanking policy that is applied in the Netherlands to combat poverty will also be used in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.
In the motion, Özütok noted that there was a big difference between flanking policy in the Netherlands and in the Caribbean Netherlands. The islands receive fewer funds and the package of measures to combat poverty among families, children and elderly is less extensive than in the Netherlands.
During the debate on June 17 with no less than four state secretaries, including State Secretary of Social Affairs and Labour Tamara van Ark and State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops, Özütok said that the scope and degree of poverty was unacceptable, especially considering that the three islands are part of the Netherlands.
Özütok pointed out during last week’s debate that even though the Dutch government has been taking measures to make things better for the people in the Caribbean, it was important to “keep the pressure on.”
Özütok said that poverty was almost always combined with other social issues such as domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, children going to bed hungry and to school with an empty stomach which has an adverse effect on their school results. MP Stieneke van der Graaf of the ChristianUnion noted in the same debate that poverty had many faces and far-reaching consequences. She asked the Dutch government to ensure that figures of poverty among children were recorded so this group can be better assisted.
The second adopted motion, submitted by Özütok and MP Antje Diertens of the Democratic Party D66, asked the Dutch government to look into ways in which the economic independent position of women in the Caribbean Netherlands could be strengthened. This effort would have to be done in consultation with the governments of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.
Özütok and Diertens argued in the motion that emancipation of women and the strengthening of their economic independence were effective instruments in eradicating backlogs that women often face on the islands, including poverty, domestic violence and financial dependence.
The third motion, again submitted by Özütok, and supported by a vast majority of the second chamber, was about the cost of day care that parents in the Caribbean Netherlands have to pay for their children. This amount is too high for many parents, who often must work two jobs to survive.
The Dutch government does not want to make childcare completely free because that would lessen the value that parents hold for day care. However, for many parents on the islands, free childcare is the only way to make ends meet, noted Özütok.
Therefore, she asked the Dutch government to (financially) enable the public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba to facilitate a complete compensation for day care and after-school care for parents who cannot afford it.
The Daily Herald.