Sunday, January 08, 2006


Netherlands Antilles at a Crossroads

In the latter part of November, 2005, the Prime Minister of Holland and leaders of the federation of the Netherlands Antilles (made up of the five islands of Bonaire, Curaçao, St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius) agreed to modify the political relations of the federation with Holland. Since 1945, the Netherlands Antilles have enjoyed autonomy regarding their internal affairs while remaining within the Dutch Kingdom. Holland retains responsibilities for defense and foreign policy. Aruba was also a part of this federation until it obtained a “status aparte” on January 1, 1986. The Netherlands Antilles is governed by a unicameral parliament or "Staten" whose 22 members are popularly elected. The Staten chooses a "Minister President" and a Council of Ministers, while a Governor represents the monarch of the Netherlands. Each island has its own local government authority.

Under the recently negotiated arrangement, Curaçao and St. Maarten will adopt a “status aparte”, while Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba will become "Kingdom Islands". The latter is a newly created status that has yet to be defined, but nevertheless represents closer integration with Holland, possibly even signifying becoming a municipality. These changes are expected to take effect in July of 2007. A key issue in the November agreement was the federation's US$ 2.8 billion public debt which is seen as an obstacle to economic development. The Dutch government has committed itself to find a solution to this problem. A discussion of economic issues confronting the Netherlands Antilles can be gleaned from a recent International Monetary Fund Mission to the islands.


Thanks for this info. Very interesting.
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