Croes: use expertise of judges

UTRECHT--The Hague should make more use of the expertise of Judges of the Joint Court of Justice in Kingdom Affairs, said former Aruba Minister Plenipotentiary and former Antillean Minister of Justice Mito Croes on Thursday.

Croes was the main speaker at Studium Generale Kingdom Relations of University of Utrecht. The theme was the new organisation of maintenance of law and order in the new countries Curaçao and St. Maarten, and the "public entities" Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba.

According to Croes, Judges of the Joint Court of Justice of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba are well-informed about the local circumstances on the islands. "I am convinced that their input can positively contribute to the quality of decision-taking in The Hague and improve the quality of maintenance of law and order in the Kingdom," he said.

The judges can also help to eliminate a part of the mutual distrust between the partners in the Kingdom, said Croes. History has shown that this is necessary, because a cooperation based on trust is important in view of proper maintenance of law and order in the Kingdom, he added.

Croes spoke of the maintenance of law and order from the Caribbean perspective. He mentioned the plans of approach for the judicial area for Curaçao and St. Maarten. He said there was "enough to do" in the coming two years, but also in the period after the plans of approach had been executed, since maintenance of law and order was "always a work in progress."

Croes said he didn't doubt the good intentions of Curaçao and St. Maarten and the decisiveness by the governments to execute the plans of approach. He said much more was needed than good will and decisiveness. The small scale means that the islands have higher expenditures to properly maintain law and order.

Croes said much expertise was needed on short term and this expertise was scarce. Money was needed to acquire professional assistance. And, that is where the Kingdom should come in.

He said demands by the Kingdom and the Dutch Government for more quality meant that there should also be a financial economical policy in place, accompanied by effective instruments to put this policy into practice. He said the European Union (EU) also assisted its smaller, ultra-peripheral territories.

Chairman of Studium Generale, former Governor of the Netherlands Antilles and professor of Constitutional Kingdom Law at University of Utrecht, Jaime Saleh said citizens of the islands should be better informed about the benefits of the new constitutional relations.

Saleh noted that there was much talk about the constitutional reform process, but that this was mostly formal talk and there wasn't sufficient attention for the issues that were relevant to the people of the islands.

"The people want a better society. They want to know what will change in education, health care, infrastructure, and public housing," said Saleh. He expressed the hope that the islands could make a "fresh start." "The argument that it was all because of the double layer of government is no longer attainable. They won't be able to hide behind that anymore," he said.

Anneke van Dijk of Sector Constitutional and Administrative Law of Directorate of Legislation of the Dutch Ministry of Justice, another speaker at Thursday's event, explained the Kingdom Consensus Laws of the Joint Court of Justice, the Prosecutor's Office, and the police forces in detail.

24 September 2010

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