Antilles should lose nation status, says report

8th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

8 October 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands Antilles status as a country should be rescinded, a commission appointed by the Dutch and Antillean governments has advised. The commission — headed by former Antillean governor Edsel Jesurun — said the islands of Curacao and St. Maarten should be made autonomous countries within the Dutch Kingdom, alongside the Netherlands and the Caribbean island Aruba.

8 October 2004

AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands Antilles status as a country should be rescinded, a commission appointed by the Dutch and Antillean governments has advised.
 
The commission — headed by former Antillean governor Edsel Jesurun — said the islands of Curacao and St. Maarten should be made autonomous countries within the Dutch Kingdom, alongside the Netherlands and the Caribbean island Aruba.

The remaining three Antillean islands, Saba, Bonaire and St. Eustatius, should come under the direct authority of the government in The Hague, the commission said.

But the five Caribbean islands would maintain a co-operative relationship in regard to the Central Bank, pension funds and the social security bank, Dutch public news service NOS reported. The Antillean islands and Aruba are former Dutch colonies.

The recommendations could signal the end of the Antillean central government, but the findings are not binding. Nevertheless, both the Netherlands and the Antilles have reportedly indicated the findings would "weigh heavily" on their considerations.

Much of the commission's findings were leaked by newspaper NRC last week and the official findings were being presented on Friday in the Antilles to the Dutch Minister for Kingdom Relations, Thom de Graaf.

The report said a fundamental change in state relations was necessary to combat Antillean problems of poverty, crime and its economy.

But for Curacao and St. Maarten to become autonomous, considerable investments will be needed in law enforcement, public finances and proper governance, Antillean newspaper The Daily Herald reported.

The commission is keen to push the changes through as quickly as possible, but said the countries and islands involved should sign a political accord by the end of this year.

This would involve amending the 50-year-old Kingdom Charter, the Antillean Constitution and the Islands Regulation ERNA. By 1 July 2005, a roundtable conference must be held to resolve constitutional issues, the commission said.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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