PHILIPSBURG–Thus far, no sanctions have been imposed on any Russian oligarchs in St. Maarten or on their yachts. Deputy Prime Minister Egbert Doran told Members of Parliament (MPs) during Parliament’s first “Question Hour” on Thursday that no sanctions have been issued.
He was responding at the time to a question from United Democrats (UD) MP Sarah Wescot-Williams, who asked whether Doran was aware of a member of the Second Chamber posing questions on this issue.
The liberal democratic VVD party in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament wants to see confiscation of Russians’ mega-yachts that are moored in St. Maarten.
VVD Members of Parliament (MPs) Roelien Kamminga and Ruben Brekelmans submitted written questions to Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra and State Secretary of Kingdom Relations and Digitisation Alexandra van Huffelen on Wednesday seeking clarification on media reports about the mega-yachts of rich Russians being confiscated by France and Germany.
This led Kamminga and Brekelmans to ask whether there were also mega-yachts of one or more Russian oligarchs in St. Maarten. The MPs wanted to know whether the Dutch government has been in touch with the St. Maarten government about this matter, and whether French authorities had already been consulted on the confiscation of yachts in their territorial waters.
When asked about the matter by Wescot-Williams, Doran replied: “We are aware of the communication. However, we have not been contacted on the subject matter thus far.”
He said subsequently: “Recently this did take place and the owner of the yacht is not sanctioned and the vessels are currently not being sanctioned.”
Wescot-Williams asked four questions during the Question Hour.
She asked whether Hoekstra has been in touch with the government of St. Maarten regarding the ongoing war in Eastern Europe and, if so, what is the agreement or understanding; whether there is ongoing consultation with the minister or ministry on this urgent matter; whether there have been any government actions based on the European sanctions thus far and, if so, what and whether there is any need for a new regulation and or policies in connection with the ongoing conflict and the (to be) imposed sanctions and, if so, which.
In his answers, Doran said the government of St. Maarten is going through the Department of Foreign Affairs in daily contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on this important topic. As Foreign Affairs is a Kingdom competency, the policy line on the Russia-Ukraine conflict must remain unified.
Based on the “landsverordening houdende regels tot uitvoeren van internationale besluiten” (national ordinance containing rules for the implementation of international decisions), St. Maarten is legally obliged to implement the United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU) sanctions, consequently the current EU sanctions against Russia must also be applied in St. Maarten. Doran said the policy positions are regularly formulated and discussed between the four countries in the Kingdom.
He said there is daily contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on this matter.
To legally implement the sanctions the government of St. Maarten has finalised the “ministeriële regeling van minister van algemene zaken tot wijziging van de sanctie land regeling en verbandt en de nieuwe sancties van de VN en de EU” (regulation of the minister of general affairs amending the sanctions country regulation and bans and the new sanctions of the UN and the EU), which was published on March 7, 2022.
Doran said every time a new sanction is put in place a ministerial regulation must be drafted that legally implements the new restrictions in St. Maarten.
National Alliance (NA) MP George Pantophlet asked whether St. Maarten is obligated to follow the sanctions.
Doran replied: “Article 1 of Kingdom Sanctions Act ‘rijkswet sancties’ (state law sanctions) indicate the provisions of the binding EU legal acts, so sanctions, on the basis of Article 215, paragraphs 1 and 2, of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union adopted within the framework of the common foreign and security policy of the European Union, will apply in the same way as the member states of the European Union from the date of their entry into force, thus in Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten.”
Bron: Daily Herald