Justice Minister: No change to Dutch passport policy

POSTED: 11/4/13 2:55 AM

St. Maarten – Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson wants to bring clarity to a news story that is living a life of its own, he feels, regarding Dutch passports and the rumors about changing the requirements to obtain one.

“The decisions and regulations on the issuing of Dutch passports and attaining Dutch nationality are not done by the Minister of Justice of Sint Maarten or by the Government of Sint Maarten. The Dutch Kingdom Government plays a decisive role in this regard,” the minister said.

“Neither the Minister of Justice nor the Government of Sint Maarten has submitted to date any requests to the Dutch or the Kingdom Government for changes to the present regulations or on the execution of those regulations or have engaged in any conversations in this respect with those governments. Sint Maarten has other and more urgent priorities,” Minister of Justice Richardson said on Sunday.

Minister Richardson was responding to a story that appeared in the local media on Friday regarding lenient rules for the Dutch passport.

Minister Richardson added: “There has never been a joint interview between myself, Sint Maarten’s journalist Alita Singh and the Dutch journalist Jean Mentens, in which I demanded easier access to the Dutch passport or declared the admittance requirements for candidates to attain the Dutch passport disastrous for Sint Maarten.

“Journalist Mentens approached my person with a request for cooperation for making a report on the developments on Sint Maarten since 10-10-10.

“In a casual general and informal conversation around his request for cooperation and not intended for any publication, the sometimes strained relationship between the Netherlands and the Caribbean countries and Dutch Caribbean islands in general was touched upon.

“Why the journalist has taken out one aspect of this conversation, magnified it out of proportion, portrayed it incorrectly and brought it in connection with a different conversation with which it had no relationship and of which I had no knowledge or was part of, is unknown. Perhaps this is called “creative” journalism!

“It is, however, becoming clearer and clearer that the article is fueling resentments in the Netherlands and in Sint Maarten and taking on a form that has no relationship with what I said or intended,” Minister Dennis Richardson concluded over the weekend.

According to Alita Singh of The Daily Herald, she was interviewed several months ago by a media entity where she gave her personal experience of the naturalization process, and this was not part of the informal conversation that the minister had with the Dutch journalist.



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