Governor pleads for tolerance

A careful dismantling of the country Netherlands Antilles and a substantial transfer of powers form the core of the policy for the coming parliamentary year. The emphasis lays on cooperation between existing and future entities. A sharp debate about the future structure is acceptable, but with respect and dignity. Tolerance is an absolute condition to form the political reformation in a dignified manner.

Governor Frits Goedgedrag has emphasized the above during his speech at the ceremonial opening of the new year of session of Parliament. “The government will perform her duty to provide for the citizens of the Antilles till the end and continue to devote herself to the tackling of urgent problems. There ought to be no vacuum in the services to the citizens as a result of too radically dismantling, before the country is actually discontinued.”

The new countries and the BES-islands must be given the opportunity to make a good start, without giving way under the financial inheritance of the governments to be wound up. The respectable and phased handing over of duties and powers to the new entity has therefore priority. This is a special complex process that takes longer than was anticipated. The Round Table Conference must be an important test for the rounding off of the political restructuring process afterwards.

Painful choices
It is inevitable that choices must be made in the process of political changes. The choices are sometimes also painful and there are differences of opinion between people, movements, and parties. “A sharp debate is allowed, but it is at the same time important to keep in mind that the debate must always be held withy respect and dignity. People shouldn’t be judged by what they are, but by what they do. For ages our islands have been a refuge and safe haven for those who are looking for a new future, and find it here. Assortment characterizes the Antillean society in which people of different origin live peacefully with each other.”

The economy of the Antilles has experienced last year the highest growth figures since 15 years. But one must stay cautious, because with developments like the international credit crisis and the high fuel prices, negative economic effects, like inflation, lie in wait.
“These developments require appropriate measures that cannot be postponed until the political restructuring becomes a fact. Besides, this requires a mutual approach. Regional and international cooperation is essential.”

Other international developments that affect the policy are the high prices for food. The establishment of a durable fishing sector is being considered for this; also extending tax treaties and exchange of data with the worldwide Reporting Station Unusual Transactions (MOTs). Furthermore, the Antilles will get an important contribution in the regional policy document to be drawn up. There is also a proposal being prepared for the transition of the membership of regional and international organizations to the new countries Curacao and St. Maarten.

With the Recovery Bank for the promotion of investments in the economy, the government expects to contribute substantially to the increase of employment on the islands. About 65 million guilders is allocated for the Antilles in the 10th European development Fund. The Governing Bodies and all other parties concerned on the islands are consulted, informed, and involved in the programming.
The financial supervision established for Curacao and St. Maarten does not pursue the policy priorities or the allocation of means. “The budget right stays with the Antillean representations”, assured the governor.

Education and justice
Violent criminality and especially offences by minors continue to demand increased attention and effort from all persons concerned. The delta-plan is therefore continued, the compulsory education is enforced, and having the legislation for the basic- and higher education finished on time is being pursuit. It is established with discreet optimism that the Safety Plan is rendering important and concrete results. Good cooperation between police, the Public prosecutor, the Detective Cooperative Team (RST), the Royal Military Police, the coastguard, and customs resulted in a substantial decrease of offences committed and an increased number of solved cases.

Weather and traffic
A well operational Meteorological Service is of vital importance for the protection against bad weather situations and society disrupted tropical storms and hurricanes.
In preparation for the new political structure, we also need to pay attention to the meteorological possibilities and mutual cooperation between the new entities.
The government is a great believer in aviation cooperation within the Kingdom and will also evaluate possibilities of cooperation in the region. Rounding off the upgrading of the rules for aviation is being pursuit.
In order to better regulate the by now liberalized market for mobile telephony and long-distance telephony, new legislation will be drawn up. This will stimulate the competition.

“It takes an enormous effort from administrators, representatives, and civil servants to continue fulfilling their duty to the citizens and at the same time work on arranging new structures. In order to succeed, we’ll have to do this convincingly and especially with united powers. Disappointments and setbacks are not always to prevent. But we can use the professionalism and pride with which our great athlete Churandy Martina has dealt with his setback and fixed his eyes on the future. He has achieved impressive results again during the recent competitions in Europe.”

(Source: National Newspaper Amigoe)

9 September, 2008

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