Netherlands Antilles: Papiamentu, English and Dutch as official languages?

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Aug 23 13:15:51 UTC 2006

PAR and MAN settle differences

PHILIPSBURG--The friction within the coalition seems to have been
resolved, at least for now. During yesterdays coalition meeting on island
level in Curaao, it was proposed to let political leaders discuss the
problems within the coalition. However, PAR leader Emily de Jongh-Elhage
and MAN leader Charles Cooper had already met and agreed to bury the
hatchet. The two parties have different opinions on the language policy of
the Central Government.

According to MAN Island Council Member Urvin Macaay, it was decided during
yesterdays coalition meeting to let the political leaders discuss the
problem. The meeting went well. The ambience was friendly and there was no
sign of friction, Macaay said. MAN and National Alliance, during a Central
Committee meeting last week Thursday, had additional questions on
Government's policy to introduce Papiamentu, English and Dutch as the
official languages in the Netherlands Antilles.

MAN wanted to know what the cost would be for the island territories and
what the minimum required level of Dutch would be for civil servants. MAN
asked if it was necessary to introduce official languages now while next
year the Netherlands Antilles will cease to exist. PAR faction leader in
Parliament Pedro Atacho questioned the fact that MAN again voted against
Education Minister Omayra Leeflangs policy. Its the second time MAN voted
against a PAR draft law. This is unacceptable, Atacho complained.

Cooper said that the MAN faction in Parliament wouldn't be the Governments
rubber stamp. We had questions about the draft law on official languages
that weren't answered. Thats why we voted for a preliminary report to be
made so the questions could be answered, he said. Cooper said Atacho had
been comparing two different issues. MAN voted against a law for bilingual
language of instruction at schools, he said.  MAN and PAR agreed to
disagree on the issue. The topic discussed last week was a draft law on
official languages in the Netherlands Antilles. It has nothing to do with

He said the party had noticed that PAR only complained about the MAN
factions behaviour, while National Alliance also had voted to make a
preliminary report. Why doesn't PAR complain to National Alliance? he said.


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