The Kingdom Foreign Ministry’s project to tackle a backlog in ratifying treaties for the Dutch Caribbean countries (see related story) is in principle good news. The local application of such helps solidify their position as respectable members of the international community, creating clarity in that sense for residents, visitors, businesses and potential investors alike.
Important is for Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten to carefully select the treaties they want to be part of. In the past, particularly during the time of the former Netherlands Antilles, treaties were occasionally entered into while not having fully weighed their implications, with all possible consequences.
Of course, in certain cases there is no getting around joining to still be considered part of the civilised world. Examples can be found among human rights treaties being executed on the islands under coordination of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK.
To make sure the treaties serve their interests, Foreign Affairs is offering assistance in the form of sharing expertise and providing technical support. The latter includes employing treaty lawyers from the Dutch government but also hired if needed by the three countries at the expense of The Hague.
There is no doubt that getting up to date with these matters of principle adopted by global society will improve the images of Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten abroad. It remains essential, however, to thoroughly study their exact nature and practical meaning up front.
Know what you sign.