PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — In what Pro Soualiga considers a timely assist, the Dutch Council of State has shot down the COHO draft Kingdom Law. In what internet blog “Dossier Koninkrijksrelaties” billed as “Kingdom Law COHO in conflict with Kingdom Charter” the stillbirth of COHO was announced. The highest advisory body in the Kingdom issued a scathing 20-page analysis of the COHO draft Kingdom Law and advised Mr. Knops not to present the law in its present form to the Second Chamber, nor to the Parliaments of the islands. It’s back to the drawing boards for Knops and Co.
Pro Soualiga had initiated court action to stop COHO and many of the arguments presented by Pro Soualiga can be found in the Council of State advice. The Law was hastily drafted and amateurish in many ways. The Council of State did not spare it.
The islands can now breathe a sigh of relief because one of their major headaches has been resolved. The excessive and needless interference in their autonomous affairs has been roundly criticized by the Council of State and now the Dutch Government is obliged to negotiate with them on a more equal footing.
This advice by the Dutch Council of State underlines one of the ways in which the colonial nature of the relationship with the Netherlands is structured. The report of the Council of Advice of Curacao was also highly critical of COHO, but it is only the advice of the Dutch advisory body that matters.
The advice was finalized on March 3, 2021, and was not supposed to be made public as yet, but as is the case with those things, someone conveniently leaked a copy to the press, and now, there are no longer any secrets to conceal.
This also brings an end to the court action Pro Soualiga was waging to stop COHO. The Dutch Council of advice saw the light and nipped COHO in the bud, albeit for different reasons than Pro Soualiga. Pro Soualiga’s position is that COHO is invalid because the Kingdom Charter conflicts with the United Nations Charter.
Obviously, that finding was a bridge too far for the conservative Council of State. However, one does look a gifted horse in the mouth and, besides, there are many roads that lead to Rome.