A revitalization project plan for improvements at the civil registry (census bureau) is slated to be presented by St. Maarten’s governor Franklyn Richards to the Executive Council for discussion. Once approved, the plan will be presented to His Excellency the governor of the Netherlands Antilles and to the Dutch secretary of state for kingdom relations.
The Dutch secretary of state for Kingdom Relations, Ank Bijleveld-Schouten, in a letter dated April 17, 2009, addressed to the Dutch Second Chamber, among others, voiced her concern regarding the functioning of the census bureau on St. Maarten.
The Executive Council took a resolution on December 9, 2008, that the functioning of the census bureau needs to be enhanced.
Reason for this Executive Council resolution is the fact that the department in question is deemed essential for the gathering of and dissemination of information pertaining to citizens’ duties and rights within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This is not only important for the individual citizen but is also essential for the functioning of the island territory of St. Maarten within the Netherlands Antilles and for the Kingdom itself.
It must be possible that within the kingdom, duties and rights of the citizen are treated equally, entailing that tasks should be performed in such a way that there could be no misunderstandings.
A characteristic aspect of the aforementioned is that of confidence in the documentation of data in the civil registry as well as the necessary care in applying procedures.
In past years, numerous steps were taken by the Executive Council to safeguard the mentioned aspects, taking into consideration the need to limit the possibility for manipulation of data and procedures.
Notwithstanding that the vulnerability of the department has been a source of constant concern for the island, central and kingdom governments, for the past decade, there are still doubts regarding the complete accuracy of data and procedures followed.
With the application of the kingdom law pertaining to Dutch citizenship, in the form of the issuance of Dutch passports, the ministry for interior affairs and kingdom relations has many concerns.
Governor Richards, now charged with the responsibility for the census bureau, mentions that he is busy with the drafting of a project plan to revitalize the functioning of the census bureau, which is practically ready. This project plan entails among others the enhancement of the civil registry, which will lead to more reliable information to determine the right to Dutch citizenship, and subsequently the right to vote as addressed by the Dutch secretary of state, Ank Bijleveld-Schouten, in her letter of April 17.
The project plan is scheduled to be presented within two weeks to the Executive Council. Once approved, the plan will be executed expeditiously by the Executive Council in collaboration with the ministry for interior affairs and kingdom relations.