Prime Minister William Marlin joined Prime Minister of Curacao Eugene Rhuggenaath as well as Caribbean Regional Envoy for Kingdom of the Netherlands in Havana Liesbeth Mol in Willemstad yesterday for a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic Miguel Vargas on the occasion of the first anniversary of the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Dominican Republic. Prime Minister Marlin was presented with a copy of the book ‘500 years of History between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Dominican Republic, by Carlos Manuel Abaunza. The book chronicles the migratory, commercial, and diplomatic relations between the two states from 1516. Prime Minister Marlin reiterated Sint Maarten’s commitment to the MOU noting the importance of the Dominican Republic in the foreign policy of Sint Maarten.
The meeting’ agenda covered a number of the themes featured in the MOU including economic cooperation, sustainable development, security, disaster management, and medical tourism. Three key points of the meeting were, the recognition of the Kingdom of the accession of the Dominican Republic to the Apostille Treaty, the convention on the transfer of persons, and the bilateral air transport agreement between the Kingdom and the Dominican Republic. The first, the Apostille treaty will make it easier for Dominican nationals residing on Sint Maarten to have their documents certified for legal purposes thereby reducing the time for these documents to be recognized. A number of other countries already have this privilege within the Kingdom. The second, the transfer of persons, will allow for incarcerated nationals to serve their sentence in their respective country. The third, the air transport agreement, regulates the legal aviation framework between the two states.
During the meeting all parties agreed to appoint workgroup leaders that will coordinate the work of the MOU. The first meeting of the workgroup will be convened in the Dominican Republic during the first week of November. High on the agenda is the anticipated visit of President Danilo Medina of the Dominican Republic to Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten during the first quarter of 2018.
At the conclusion of the meeting all parties, Vargas for the Dominican Republic, Marlin for Sint Maarten, Rhuggenaath for Curaçao, and Mol for the Netherlands and Aruba, signed a Political Act that sets the immediate priorities for the workgroup and for the operationalization of the MOU.
Prime Minister Marlin indicated the importance of a strong foreign policy and regional, as well as international, partners in achieving Sint Maarten’s strategic long term goals. The Department of Foreign Relations, represented by Senior Policy Advisor Mr. Patrice Gumbs Jr during the meeting, plays a critical role in facilitating and maintaining these relationships.