By Roy Lie Atjam
The Kingdom of the Netherlands comprises four countries: Aruba, Curaçao, Saint Martin and the Netherlands. The Netherlands includes three public bodies in the Caribbean region: Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba. However, Aruba attained a Status Aparte in 1986.
HM. King Willem-Alexander is the head of state of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the individual countries that make up the Kingdom.
On 10 October 2010, Curaçao and St Maarten became autonomous countries. Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba became special municipalities of the Netherlands.
The Hague, on 10 October 2022, H.E. Mr. Carlson Manuel, Minister Plenipotentiary of Curaçao, delivered an address celebrating Curaçao Day 2022. In part, this is what Minister Manuel said:” Twelve years ago, a significant turn took place in the history of Curacao, the island I have the honor and the privilege to represent in the Netherlands and Europe. On the 10th of October 2010 the autonomous country Curaçao was born, heralding a new era for the government and the people of the island.
Curaçao as one of the four constituent parts of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is merely 12 years old and therefore in a very real sense a fledgling nation. As is the case with all young countries we have also had to deal with the inevitable growing pains of starting out on a heretofore untraveled path. To date we have been strong enough to weather the different storms that during the past 12 years emerged on our path, whilst being fully aware that the status of a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands brings along with it an intense learning curve. Thanks to the support of our countrymen and the many leaders in the different sectors of our community we have been able to maintain a firm course.
Our success on the new route on which we have embarked is also greatly due to the support and collaboration that we have been able to count on from each and everyone of you. For the past almost 18 months of my term I have had the singular pleasure and have been most fortunate to be able to meet with almost everyone of you here present this afternoon. During fruitful encounters I have been able to explore with you areas of mutual interest in which our countries can collaborate. I would once again like to thank each and everyone of you for our most pleasant exchanges and assure you that -although in some instances somewhat delayed due to unforeseen circumstances- the necessary follow up by my capital will be done.
To commemorate the 10th of October annually not only offers us the opportunity of celebration, but also that of reflection. Reflection on such matters as: where do we want to be as a country in let’s say the coming five or ten years. As well, reflective thoughts come to the surface regarding our position within the Kingdom of the Netherlands and with our fellow constituent partners.
The vision that my government has for the future of Curaçao is one in which the highest standard of living affordable within our means is guaranteed for the population of the island. A strong economy, sustainable public finances, an affordable healthcare system and the best possible education for everyone are all part of this future vision. Truth be told in all these areas we are now facing challenges. However, with the help of all stakeholders both locally, in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in Europe and other parts of the world, we are working with great care and perseverance to overcome these challenges.
Regarding our position in the Kingdom of the Netherlands it is the firm hope of the government of Curaçao that mutual understanding and respect will continue to lead to an ever effective and mutually beneficial relationship between all the partners within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Today, I would like to stress the celebratory aspects of 10 October which from 2010 onward has stood for a new beginning and commitment to our island. I would like to take this opportunity to invite you all to continue to support us on the road we embarked on twelve years ago, allow me to propose the following toast:
To the prosperity of the people of Curaçao and our fellowship with you our friendly nations. Cheers ”.
A good number of Ambassadors and Diplomats came by to felicitate Minister Manuel on this momentous occasion. To mention some, Argentina, Armenia, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, IOM, Malta, New Zealand, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Switzerland, and Taiwan.