Published On: Thu, Nov 9th, 2017

Knops advice: vote sensibly

THE HAGUE – The Dutch cabinet warns citizens of St. Maarten: if they vote in the elections in majority for parties that do not accept the conditions for Dutch relief funds, the flow of money will be stopped immediately, the Telegraaf wrote on Wednesday evening.

State secretary Raymond Knops (Kingdom Relations) had this message for the Second Chamber, but at the same time he is accommodating the country. The Dutch cabinet wants to begin as soon as possible with sending funds for the recovery to St. Maarten. That does not depend on the question whether there will be elections or not.

The Netherlands wants to send millions in recovery funds, but only if the island accepts conditions – the establishment of an Integrity Chamber and stricter border control, executed by the Royal Marechaussee.

“If the interim-cabinet accepts these conditions, the question is how much that is worth,’ the Telegraaf writes, adding that there could soon be again a change of the guard. Knops says that he wants to talk about recovery funding with any cabinet, also with an outgoing and an interim cabinet. He reasons that “all kinds of cabinets can fall at any moment.”

The new state secretary warns however that as soon as there is a government that no longer accepts the conditions, the Netherlands will stop or suspend the recovery funding.

“In that sense the citizens of St. Maarten have their fate in their own hands,” Knops said about the elections.

The Telegraaf writes that the government fell “because it did not want to accept the conditions immediately,” adding that the Parliament was ready to accept but that it has now been dissolved.

The VVD in the Netherlands wants to postpone the elections that have been scheduled for January 8. Nomination Day is already this upcoming Monday. Knops said that it would be “a heavy-handed measure’ if the Netherlands would enforce a postponement of the elections.

The state secretary has asked Governor Holiday for information about the elections and he is awaiting that information before taking a decision about a possible postponement.