Press Statement MP Claudius Buncamper Inter Expo Congress Day 1 “Become a Dutch Township or Province and drop the colonial charter once and forever”

Independent Member of Parliament MP Claudius “Toontje” Buncamper was part of the delegation that traveled to the Netherlands on Monday to attend the Inter Expo Congress during which the experiences after 10-10-10 were highlighted.
The MP noted that the presenters at the expo pointed out that while we claim to be equal in the kingdom, we have clear differences in politics, culture and our geographic locations etc., showing that we are one, with differences.
Paul Rossenmoller, chairman of the Commission Kingdom relations in the 1 st chamber presented a brief history of what led to 10-10-10, concluding with the request that we refrain from restarting the discussion on constitutional status.
MP Buncamper observed that, based on Paul Rossenmoller’s presentation, it appears that the Dutch Government is unaware of the challenges faced in governing a small country like St. Maarten, and they do not understand our culture. This makes it important that the Netherlands does not dictate the authorities of the Islands. Compared to the Netherlands our challenges
such as poverty, unemployment, education, financial security and social safety need urgent attention.
Rossenmoller admitted that the introduction of the COHO got off on the wrong foot, although he agreed that investments are necessary as per the country packages to ensure reform and financing of the COHO, and concluded that sufficient manpower and financial capacity, which
the countries lack, are absolutely necessary to properly govern.
The congress continued with discussions on the following themes;
a. Only big countries like the Netherlands can survive in the globalizing world
b. A circular Kingdom (sustainable cooperation and change)
c. Post charter Kingdom
d. Dutch administrative law in the Kingdom
e. A comparison between the Netherlands and the Dutch Caribbean islands vs France and
it’s overseas territories
f. The colonial past
g. Debate on Nationality and Citizenship in the Kingdom
In the discussions on the aforementioned themes it was reiterated by several presenters that although we have the rights to determine our future in accordance with international laws, we must be part of a mature kingdom in which all parties are equal and the charter is transparent
for all. Or, as the majority of the speakers suggested, we do away with our “statute” and take over the Dutch constitution and become an overseas township or province within the Kingdom making us all equal Dutch citizens. According to the presenter, this is something that The Hague
is not “jumping for”. According to Dr. Aart Broek, “You are either in or out”. It was also suggested to change our present charter slogan from “Standing our own strength, yet willing to assist each other” to “Choosing for each other’s strength in a sustainable connected kingdom”.
Professor G. Hogers touched on the democratic deficit, which no longer applies to the BES islands, as they are now represented in both the Dutch and Kingdom parliaments and elect their representatives. His presentation clearly indicated that 10-10-10 was a new option that was created on the premise of being part of the Kingdom. Something that many speakers
clearly indicated was just another colonial way of keeping the BES islands in check like the charter does with the CAS countries.
During the discussion of the Dutch administrative law in the Kingdom some strengths and weaknesses of the Kingdom Government became evident. Some weaknesses that require immediate attention in the Netherlands are the role of the Council of Advice, the High Council and the lack of trust in the government, i.e. the functional abilities of the ministers and state
secretaries in the Netherlands, and the clarity of policy, the arbitrariness of application of policies and misuse of local and international policies.
During the discussion of the concordance of the laws such as the subsidizing law which may be used for the liquidity support instead of loans it became clear that perhaps we need to take over some norms from the UPG’s to ensure correct execution of the subsidies to prevent issues
that occured in the Netherlands with the tax scandal for the “toeslagen affair”. It is important to know who is legislating so that we know the rules to play by.
Because Dutch CAS citizens do not have the same rights as French citizens when it comes to participation in the Dutch elections for chambers that make laws to govern our countries, the French’s approach towards their overseas territories was reviewed to ensure that the democratic deficit, which does not exist in their system, would be sidelined as they are allowed
to vote in all elections and have representation in all assemblies as regulated by their constitution in article 73 and 74 and chapter 13. Unlike the 1 st and 2 nd chambers of the Netherlands, the Dutch CAS countries have no formal approval or right of amendment of any kingdom laws. So a proposal was made to reserve seats for the CAS countries in those entities.
However, how does that work when the CAS countries have their own parliaments. Or do they vote only when it pertains to a specific kingdom law.
Dr. Aart Broek discussed the final topic of the day, i.e. boldly dealing with the colonial past. The CAS countries are beggars in their own Kingdom because they do not make use of their rights to demand what is rightfully due to them. In addition to the aforementioned, the Netherlands
does not understand that small countries cannot survive in the big world of today where autonomy means something totally different. The congress ended with a discussion on the nationality and citizenship in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Dutch kingdom citizenship is not felt by citizens of the CAS countries, but was seen as a great travel document.