Ys says no to curbs on Antilleans

12th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

12 May 2005AMSTERDAM — Antillean Prime Minister Etienne Ys has called on the Dutch government to remove a plan aimed at young Antilleans from the agenda of Friday's Cabinet meeting.

12 May 2005

AMSTERDAM — Antillean Prime Minister Etienne Ys has called on the Dutch government to remove a plan aimed at young Antilleans from the agenda of Friday's Cabinet meeting.

Ys said the issue must first be discussed with the government of the Netherlands Antilles — an autonomous union of five Caribbean islands within the Kingdom of the Netherlands — before it can be implemented.

He is totally opposed to the planned restrictions which he claimed were discriminatory as they treated Antilleans — holders of Netherlands passports — as second-class citizens.

It was reported on Wednesday that Dutch Integration Minister Rita Verdonk and Kingdom Relations Minister Alexander had already agreed tough measures to tackle young Antilleans who get involved in crime and cause problems after immigrating to the Netherlands.

The controversial plan involves giving judges the authority to send young Antilleans who are convicted of crime back to the Netherlands Antilles. This is in addition to normal sentencing powers.

Under the plan, Antilleans would only be allowed to stay in the Netherlands if they have work or have entered the country for study purposes. The Dutch Cabinet is due to discuss the measures at its weekly meeting on Friday.

Ys has let it be know on Thursday that he intends to ring and write to his dutch counterpart, Jan Peter Balkenende, and request that the plan be put on ice and not discussed in Friday's meeting. Ys says that the Dutch authorities must first discuss the issue with his government.

The Antillean Prime Minister also indicated that relations between the Netherlands and its former colonies had been seriously damaged by the way the plan was being rushed through.

"The Netherlands knows how important this issue is for us. We could have expected at the very least that we would have been kept informed about this. Instead I heard about it via the media," he said.

This has been made more painful by the fact Pechtold is currently in the Antilles on a working visit. Pechtold said he regretted the manner in which the news of the plan  had leaked out prematurely, but he said the implementation of the measures was unavoidable.

Pechtold's predecessor at Kingdom Relations, Roger van Boxtel expressed surprise at the reports of the plans, claiming he had examined the same ideas when in government and found them to be unfeasible.

The left-wing opposition parties in the Dutch parliament have also expressed strong objections to the plans.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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