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Three poverty-related motions for Caribbean Netherlands adopted

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.

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