By René Zwart
The Hague – Prime Minister Mark Rutte will visit Sint Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba on May 13 and 14. This has been confirmed by the Government Information Service (Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst)
The Prime Minister initially wanted to go to the islands in November of last year to see the devastation caused by the hurricanes Irma and Maria with his own eyes. A quarrel with the Cabinet of PM Marlin about the conditions for a Dutch donation to the reconstruction, however, made him decide to abandon the trip.
The postponement of Rutte’s trip was criticized by Member of Parliament Theo Hiddema (Forum for Democracy) who was the first Dutch parliamentarian to visit the badly hit Sint Maarten. ”My personal appeal to Mark Rutte: Come quickly to Sint Maarten and see the misery among the population and their hope for support from The Netherlands. President Emmanuel Macron was here 2 months ago and took the lead right away!”, Hiddema tweeted.
The fact that there is still a caretaker government in Philipsburg, apparently is no obstacle for Rutte to proceed with his visit at this time. Rutte will be accompanied by State Secretary Raymond Knops of the Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations. It will only the second time for Rutte to visit the Caribbean part of the Kingdom in the more than 7 years that he is Prime Minister. In the summer of 2013, he made a tour along the six islands, where he conveyed the message that he wanted to earn a lot of money together.