Dutch MPs discuss inequality fuel tax Caribbean and European Neths,

Dutch Members of Parliament (MPs) question the equal treatment of citizens in the Netherlands in terms of the increase of fuel tax on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. This be­cause the Ministry of Finance has agreed not to increase the fuel tax in the European Netherlands for 2024, whereas that same policy does not apply to the fuel tax in the Caribbean Netherlands.

The members of the Permanent Committee Kingdom Relations of the Dutch Second Chamber of Parliament discussed this tax in terms of the so-called “comply or explain” principle during the first committee meeting of the year and during a closed door meeting with experts on Wednesday, January 18. This principle entails that the Dutch government ap­plies policies and regulations of the Netherlands to the Caribbean Netherlands unless there is a rea­son not to do so.

PVV MP Peter van Haasen told the Amigoe that he can imagine that the people on the islands were outraged by this. According to van Haasen, it is unclear when the policies in the European Netherlands apply to the Carib­bean Netherlands, and why this is not always the case (such as the fuel tax). If that is the case, an ex­planation is necessary.

“In the last years, work has been done to equalise policies, but sometimes it seems random. So that is why we would like an ex­planation for when it is “comply” and when “explain,” said Van Haasen during the meeting.

“I would like to know how the `comply and explain’ is constitu­tionally regulated,” said Gijs Tu­inman of the BBB-party. Groen­links MP Raoul White agreed. D66 MP Jan Paternotte asked about the specific directives of the principle for the Dutch Second Chamber of Parlia­ment.

Ministers and state secre­taries increasingly include the Caribbean Netherlands in their policymaking, but the MPs do not automati­cally think of the islands. The initiative to keep the fuel tax in the European Netherlands low came from the Second Chamber. “It is painful for the islands that they were not thought of,” said Paternotte.

The Daily Herald.

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