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Dutch Caribbean islands get new status

Saturday 09 October 2010

The legal status of the five Caribbean islands which make up the Netherlands Antilles changes from October 10, five years after the process to draw up a new relationship between the islands and the Netherlands began.

In the new set up, Curacao (population 142,000) and Sint Maarten (population 37,000) become independent countries with the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

This means the two countries will have more independence in terms of law making and government but that the Netherlands will keep an eye on their finances and remain responsible for defence and foreign policy.

Aruba has had this status since 1986.

BES islands

The other three islands, Bonaire (population 13,000), Sint Eustatisu (2,900 inhabitants) and Saba (population 1,700) will have the status of independent local authorities within the Netherlands. They will be subject to Dutch law but can take a different standpoint on controversial issues such as abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage.

The changeover will also affect legal currency on the islands. Curacao and Sint Maarten will have their own currency, which will be linked to the US dollar. The three other islands will use US dollars, Nos tv reports.

© DutchNews.nl

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Readers' comments (7)

How can the islands (BES) be part of the Netherlands but have different laws relating to controversial issues? If they did not want to fully adapt Dutch law why not just follow the lead of Curacao and Sint Maarten and become independent countries?

By bemused | October 9, 2010 9:13 PM

@bemused: because they didn't want to take on the administrative, legal, and financial burdens that come with being an independent state... it's an expensive process running a country.

By Quince | October 11, 2010 11:54 AM

Why not allow Dutch municipalities in 'European' Netherlands to also choose to have different laws relating to controversial issues? Or is this the Dutch way of implementing Affirmative Action, a.k.a 'Reverse Racism'.

And here I thought that what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

By Aryan | October 11, 2010 12:16 PM

These Islands using the USD still requiring US folks to have a passport?

By howard de barfield | October 11, 2010 3:15 PM

This is just a transitional situation, set to last 2 years while Saba, Sint Eustatisu and Bonaire adapt to the new situation. 2 years is no big deal, I'd say.

By Andre L. | October 11, 2010 4:43 PM

One rule for them and another rule for us.... That's politics or probably the Queen's directives.

By Andy | October 11, 2010 5:05 PM

In the bes we are not getting the same social benefits as in Holland. And still Holland is trying to push there laws on us. And if we don't want Gays we just don't want keep your but sucking #@$%$ up there !!!!!

By EUXguy | December 11, 2010 8:49 AM

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