About equality

The Dutch Secretary of State Alexandra van Huffelen visited the island recently to meet with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of the Economy.

On the agenda, the pandemic aid, the Dutch loans to Aruba of almost one billion florins, due in October, whose terms of repayment, must still be negotiated. But the discussions are quagmired.

About 916 million must be refinanced, the question is how, the Dutch see it one way – Aruba must sign off in agreement on a Kingdom Law. Aruba sees it differently, stating the Netherlands is more forgiving towards the other islands and harsher on Aruba, and that the island is in an economic growth pattern and shouldn’t be disturbed, basically, a kingdom law would be too binding to our taste. Aruba is seeking a more lenient way, a less finite arrangement.

The talks ended, they all lined up for pictures, and announced fruitful exchanges, yet nothing was finalized. Today the Secretary of State announced that the relationship with the Dutch Kingdom would be negatively affected if Aruba didn’t sign.

That sounds like a serious position. Let’s see if Aruba signs. If the tactic of delay was employed to appease party members, or indeed they are playing chicken with the Dutch – two drivers on a collision course. Who will swerve?

(Meanwhile the Dutch cabinet fell, how lucky, they will probably have no time for Aruba)

While here the Secretary of State received an urgent letter from parliamentarian Miguel Mansur asking her to comply with her obligation towards equal treatment and human rights, to address the matter of same sex marriage here, legal on the Dutch Islands of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatis, and illegal in Aruba, Curacao & Sint Maarten.

The letter was sent in the wake of an exchange the secretary had with two different Dutch politicians. The conservative urged her to refrain from interference, while the openly gay pushed her to do what’s right.

Van Huffelen answered both saying the islands show insufficient support to same sex marriage, and in her opinion the autonomous countries to Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten should be allowed to decide for themselves.

Mansur’s reaction included the results of a survey conducted here in 2021-2922. The study showed that 57% of islanders are pro, more in the Noord and Savaneta areas, less in Orangestad and San Nicholas, but overall 57% pro and 43% con is a fact, with 61% pro, among educated and 39% con, among less educated.

Mansur sees the secretary’s standoffish position as neo-colonial, where the mother-country shirks its responsibility toward equal treatment and fundamental human rights, dodging the constitution.

Mansur cited a number of successful court cases, that did not change a thing, BECAUSE, this issue cannot be solved by the court, the court is in approval. This has to be resolved politically, and among constituents.

According to Mansur, the three above island countries where same sex marriage isn’t legal, offer a kind of registered partnership, which keeps couples ‘equal-but-separate,’ a policy applied in the US where African Americans could ride the bus, only occupying the back seats. That policy amounted to segregation, discrimination and inequality, Mansur explains.

Mansur also rallies against the despicable attempt to paint same sex marriage as abnormal, unnatural and detrimental to mental health, a menace to society, especially kids.

Let’s see where this goes, its only a question of time.

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July 07, 2023
Rona Coster