WILLEMSTAD — Minister of Defense, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert (VVD), has informed the Lower Chamber about an arrangement to relocate Dutch soldiers living in Julianadorp – at the expense of Defense – which she believes is an appropriate approach. Navy spokesperson Maartje van der Maas stated this on being asked and added that the arrangement for the soldiers will be retroactive from November 1st 2013.
As the Amigoe reported earlier, following complaints from several Navy staff members Minister of Defense, Hennis-Plasschaert, indicated mid March to appeal to the government of Curaçao to conduct an investigation into the emission from the Isla-refinery. The minister felt it was her responsibility as employer. She also indicated that in anticipation of the investigation, moving to another part of Curaçao is within the bounds of possibility. That possibility has meanwhile been acted upon.
Van der Maas explained: “At the time the minister also said to seek an appropriate approach in anticipation of an investigation. This has now been found; the soldiers worried about the air quality can appeal to aforementioned arrangement whereby the moving costs will be compensated up to a maximum of €6000.” Van der Maas explained that currently 50 soldiers and their families live in Julianadorp, of which three have already moved for reasons of concern and another three have meanwhile indicated their wish to move. Van der Maas further stated that after the summer period – with the changing of the guard – 35 soldiers with their families will in any case remain in Julianadorp.
When asked if newcomers on the island among the Defense-personnel can also take up residence in Julianadorp in the future, Van der Maas replied as follows: “After arrival the soldiers are always informed in detail, also on this matter. The current concern will be discussed. It is then up to them to decide if they wish to reside in Julianadorp or not. If they do so they can no longer appeal to this arrangement.” This arrangement includes the transportation costs of furniture, cancellation costs, possible double rent and possible costs for engaging a house agent. “As yet it’s not clear when and if an investigation into the air quality will be conducted. This is up to the government of Curaçao. Considering such investigation can is expensive Minister Hennis-Plaschaert clearly indicated to offer support”, Van der Maas said. In her letter of March 17th last to the Lower Chamber, lHennis-Plasschaert emphasized that enforcement of legislation and rules on Curaçao is the responsibility of the authorities here, who also have the necessary authorities for such. “I will therefore request the local authorities to conduct such investigation and offer them the support from TNO.”
Source: Amigoe, April 4, 2014