The official promulgation of The Kingdom Charter, “het Statuut” took place on December 15th of 1954 by Queen Juliana of the Netherlands. This charter was worked out in collaboration between the three parties, namely The Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname. Since 1954, the Kingdom consists of three co-equal, self-governing partners.
The new Charter was debated and settled in a series of conferences which started in 1952. In June 1954 an agreement was reached between the three parties. The new Charter was characterized by the principle that each of the Countries administers its internal affairs autonomously and that the partners are committed on the basis of equality, to the administration of their common interests and mutual assistance. Therefore, the Countries themselves have the right to determine their own Constitutions. This includes the right to revise and amend them, subject only to the condition that they do not impair the interests and the general principles common to the Kingdom as a whole. The “Kingdom Affairs” described in the Charter are the only instances, in which the three countries have no exclusive authority. Apart from these the Netherlands Antilles and Surinam got complete autonomy.
Despite the fact that all initial and preparatory work had been done during the “Regeringsraad Da Costa Gomez”, due to political changes in the Netherlands Antilles it was Dr. Efrain Jonckheer who put his sign on the new Charter on behalf of the Netherlands Antilles. Dr. Efrain Jonckheer (1917-1987) was the founder of the Democratic Party. In 1944 he became member of the Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles. Jonckheer participated at the Round Table conferences as a member of the Antillean delegation. He was closely involved in the preparations for the realization of the “Statuut”. On December 8th, 1954 he became Prime Minister of the Netherlands Antilles and a week after that he signed the “Statuut voor het Koninkrijk”. Jonckheer was Prime Minister of four coalitions of the Netherlands Antilles.
With the Statuut the promise made by Queen Wilhelmina in her radio speech of December 1942, was definitely delivered. As such, the Kingdom came to consist of three countries (Netherlands – Netherlands Antilles – Suriname). On the basis of this accord, the Netherlands Antilles formed an independent part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.