The democratic deficit in the Kingdom of the Netherlands was reduced a bit (see Tuesday paper) by signing a law that obligates the Kingdom Council of Ministers RMR to seek support for its policies from not only the Dutch First and Second Chambers of Parliament, but also the legislatures of Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten. Interestingly, the bill was proposed 23 years ago.
That it took so long once again confirms emancipation of the Dutch Caribbean countries is an ongoing process requiring perseverance and determination. Elected representatives from the three islands were already able to participate in relevant deliberations of the house and senate in The Hague, but without voting rights.
Mind you, this does not change the fact that Dutch cabinet members dominate the RMR in numbers, which allowed the Netherlands to impose its will on Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten; for example, with a General Measure of Kingdom Governance (“Algemene Maatregel van Rijksbestuur”) or so-called instruction. Doing such should become more difficult going forward, although the kingdom maintains its basic guarantee function based on the “Statuut” (Kingdom Charter).
Of course, so-called consensus kingdom laws also needed to be approved by the parliaments in Willemstad, Oranjestad and Philipsburg, but the latter were often forced to accept mainly in exchange for help with financial challenges, to a certain extent caused by external factors.
Some will therefore probably call this latest development insignificant, as the balance of power in the kingdom was hardly altered. Others may see it as a waste of time en route to the final goal of independence.
People are entitled to their opinion and those running for office in January can take a clear position on the issue so citizens going to the polls at least know what to expect in this regard. However, no matter how you look at it, when walking along a path to the future, every step counts.