DH | IPKO opens with call for cooperation, mutual respect

The delegations of the Dutch, Aruba and Curaçao Parliaments pose for a photo outside the Dreams Curaçao Hotel, formerly the Hilton Hotel, where the Inter-Parliamentary Consultation of the Kingdom IPKO kicked off on Tuesday. St. Maarten is not present at the IPKO due to the election.

WILLEMSTAD–Having mutual understanding and respect for each other’s autonomy, while displaying the willingness to help and support one another, based on respect – that was the main message during the official opening of the Inter-Parliamentary Consultation of the Kingdom IPKO in Curaçao on Tuesday morning.

“All countries benefit from a solid cooperation within the existing framework and with respect and understanding for each other’s positions,” said Chairman of the Curaçao Parliament William “Junior” Millerson. He noted that all countries felt the need for a new approach towards the relations within the Kingdom. However, equal partnership should play a key role in this and there was “no place” for the largest country within the Kingdom, the Netherlands to play the boss.

“We are different in many aspects, but luckily there are also many similarities. There is always room to find a compromise. We have to keep looking at what we can achieve together. Respect for each other is indispensable in this, accepting each other’s responsibilities under the Charter. We should never look down on each other,” stated Millerson, who mentioned the numerous challenges that Curaçao has been facing.

Chairman of the Aruba Parliament, Juan “Ady” Thijsen also referred to the various challenges that his country has been facing, especially concerning government finances. He said the Aruba government should be given the opportunity and confidence in the process of achieving its goal, namely sound finances and a reduction of the large national debt.

Thijsen spoke of the importance of empowerment and cooperation within the Kingdom based on equality and mutual respect whereby each country carried its own responsibility, always with the general interest of the population at heart. He said polarisation was not conducive to this.

Chairman of the Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament, leader of the Dutch delegation Jan Paternotte started his short speech in Papiamentu to wish everyone all the best for this new year and to thank Curaçao for its hospitality. He received loud applause for his efforts. He praised the Dutch Caribbean people for showing so much resilience in hard times.

All three delegation leaders mentioned the absence of the St. Maarten parliamentary delegation at this IPKO due to the January 9 elections. St. Maarten was also absent during the previous IPKO in The Hague early June. That time it had to do with the urgent handling of the 2019 budget of Country St. Maarten.

“Unfortunately, this IPKO will take place without the participation of St. Maarten. Despite their absence, we hope to have fruitful deliberations. We have agreed to keep St. Maarten abreast of the developments at this IPKO,” stated Millerson of Curaçao.

“Even though we have comprehension for the fact that St. Maarten is not here and the reason why, we greatly feel their absence,” said Thijsen of Aruba, who noted that it was still very important to have the IPKO progress in order to promote cooperation between the countries in the Kingdom.

“It is very unfortunate that we again have to miss St. Maarten, but it is understandable considering the upcoming elections,” said Paternotte of the Netherlands, who also addressed the reconstruction of the St. Maarten airport and the general recovery process in his opening remarks.

Paternotte said the Dutch Parliament had been very concerned about the volatile situation in French St. Martin last month. “The developments strengthen our belief that the reconstruction needs to proceed at a faster pace,” he said.

One of the vital reconstruction projects is the airport. Paternotte said he hoped that the next time the Dutch Parliament visited St. Maarten, they would see a rebuilt airport terminal. He said the Dutch Parliament would keep in close contact with the newly elected St. Maarten Parliament about this and other reconstruction projects.

Bron: Daily Herald

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