Two-way street

Two-way street

It was announced last week that outgoing Justice Minister Anna Richardson has signed a Ministerial Decree to formalise a pilot allowing Dutch citizens residing in the dismantled Netherlands Antilles to travel between the islands on their identification card (“sedula”) instead of a passport. Having a valid one of the former is mandatory while not so for the latter, which also costs considerably more.

The idea is to facilitate movement among the islands for family and business reasons. The pilot began per May 1, 2022, and was extended twice after evaluation, most recently during the Justice Four-Country Consultation JVO on January 17 of this year.

It will now be anchored into law by Curaçao, St. Maarten and the Netherlands. The latter is directly involved because the arrangement includes overseas public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba (the BES islands).

Notably, Aruban residents with Dutch nationality can use their ID to enter the remaining five islands, but not the other way around. Aruba, first to leave the former Antillean constellation since 1986, is apparently unable to accommodate such yet even though the pilot has been running for close to three years already.

However, that situation shouldn’t continue forever. There must at least be a timeline by now when the facility may become fully reciprocal.

With all due respect for Arubans, but something like this is supposed to work both ways. You’re either in or out.

The Daily Herald

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