Prime Minister Dr. Luc Mercelina Engages Dutch Parliament’s KOREL Committee in Fruitful Discussions

Honorable Prime Minister Dr. Luc Mercelina and members of the Council of Ministers convened with members of the Permanent Committee Kingdom Relations (KOREL) from the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament during a courtesy visit.
The delegation comprised of: Wieke Paulusma, Acting Chair of the Committee, Delegation Leader (D66), Peter van Haasen (PVV), Raoul White (GroenLinks-PvdA), Ingrid Michon-Derkzen (VVD), Faith Bruyning (NSC), Edson Hato (VN ACS – Representative of the Netherlands, Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten) and Chris Johnson (Head VNP- Representative of the Netherlands in Philipsburg).
The delegation, led by Wieke Paulusma, Acting Chair of the Committee, included representatives from various Dutch political parties along with officials representing the Kingdom’s interests in the Caribbean region.
The members of the Permanent Committee Kingdom Relations (KOREL) from the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament acknowledged the diverse contexts and distinct administrative structures of the territories and the Netherlands, emphasizing the importance of tailoring approaches to address specific matters. Despite the Dutch Government being in a caretaker status, the insights gained from these discussions will be disseminated.
The forthcoming Interparliamentary Kingdom Consultations (IPKO) meeting, scheduled for the beginning of June 2024, will delve further into the establishment of the Dispute Committee (‘Geschillencommissie’), a crucial entity for effectively addressing and resolving disputes within the Kingdom, which is still pending establishment.
The meeting highlighted the critical necessity for continuous training to bolster capacity building in Sint Maarten. It was stressed that individuals receiving training in the Netherlands should return to their respective territories to contribute. Furthermore, exploring job exchange opportunities between the Netherlands and Sint Maarten was recognized as a means to enhance the island’s workforce in the short and medium term.
Additionally, avenues for securing funding through the European Union for various initiatives will be further investigated. Members commended the country for its adeptness in transforming challenges into unique opportunities for growth and development, particularly in combating climate change. The effective collaboration observed among the islands within the Kingdom was praised. The Second Chamber delegation noted the strong willingness among the islands to collaborate in addressing regional issues.
Renewable energy projects were identified as crucial opportunities for sustainable development. Regarding healthcare for the islands of Saba and St. Eustatius, it is imperative to connect all stakeholders within the Dutch Government and the Kingdom. Sint Maarten expressed its readiness to assist the Netherlands in this endeavor.
Prime Minister Mercelina emphasized the priorities he seeks support for in the Netherlands during the visit, focusing on key issues vital to the advancement of St. Maarten.
“Today’s discussions were instrumental in conveying the urgent needs and aspirations of St. Maarten to our Dutch counterparts,” stated Prime Minister Mercelina. “We emphasized the importance of establishing a Dispute Regulation for the Kingdom, a crucial step towards ensuring fair and just governance within our shared entity.”
Highlighting the challenges faced by St. Maarten, Prime Minister Mercelina drew attention to the significant debt burden hindering the island’s progress. “We discussed the pressing issue of St. Maarten’s crippling debt, which poses a significant obstacle to our development trajectory,” remarked Prime Minister Mercelina. “Addressing this challenge is paramount to realizing a promising future for our nation.”
Prime Minister Mercelina also underscored the need for a stronger collaboration between educational institutions, particularly in expanding opportunities within key sectors such as tourism. “We seek to forge a closer working relationship with educational institutions to bolster our workforce, particularly in vital sectors like tourism,” emphasized Prime Minister Mercelina. “By investing in education and skills development, we can drive sustainable growth and prosperity for St. Maarten.”
Proposing a vision for a more inclusive Kingdom, Prime Minister Mercelina advocated for honoring the unique identities and differences among the constituent countries. “We believe in enriching the concept of an inclusive Kingdom by celebrating the diversity and distinctiveness of each member,” expressed Prime Minister Mercelina. “Our shared future lies in recognizing and embracing our differences, fostering a more cohesive and resilient Kingdom.”
The discussions concluded on a positive note, with both sides reaffirming their commitment to dialogue and cooperation for the mutual benefit of St. Maarten and the Kingdom at large.​