Dutch MPs support free movement among islands

THE HAGUE--A majority in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament adopted a motion on Tuesday to pursue free movement of persons and goods within the Caribbean part of the Kingdom.

It was clear beforehand that the motion of Member of Parliament André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party would be adopted, as it was co-signed by the Christian Democratic Party CDA, Democrats D66, green left party GroenLinks, the Labour Party PvdA, Socialist Party (SP) and the Christian Union (CU).

The motion received support from Party for Animals PvD and the reformed SGP party as well during the voting on Tuesday. Only the Party for Freedom PVV voted against.

Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Liesbeth Spies had already indicated last week, when the motion was submitted, that she considered this initiative to be in support of her policy.

She now will propose to the governments of Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten to put the wishes of the Second Chamber on the agenda of the work group that will report at the Kingdom Conference in Aruba later this year. The work group, established at the Kingdom Conference in December 2011, is studying the movement of persons and goods between the different parts of the Kingdom.

Bosman’s motion calls for the prevention of double taxation on in-transit goods, the installation of a joint Customs service, the harmonisation of airport tax for flights between the islands, priority handling for Dutch passport holders at airports, the possibility to travel between the islands with an ID card or a pre-clearance, and the possibility of a ferry connection between Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao.

Bosman explained last week that the motion was the result of January’s Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultation. He said the motion had been drafted together with Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten to “come to a certain unity” on movement of persons and goods within the Dutch Caribbean.

7 March 2012

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