Wim Eilert, leader of the PvdA (Labour) party faction in the Gemeente Westerwolde thinks that nuisance-causing asylum seekers shouldn’t ‘be rewarded’ with a free bus service
As reported last week, following a series of altercations involving residents from the asylum seekers centre in Ter Apel, the Qbuzz line 73 from Emmen will no longer stop at the centre. The group of trouble makers consists mainly of young men fro so-called ‘low risk countries’ like Morocco and Algeria that have no chance of getting asylum. While their request is being reviewed however, they are free to go where they want.
To prevent them from bothering other people, the Dutch Secretary for Justice Mark Harbers last week touted a plan to start a free bus service between Ter Apel and Emmen for this group.
Now, the Dagblad van het Noorden is reporting that a powerful local political figure is against the service. Aside from being the head of the local PvdA council faction in Westerwolde, Eilert is also the leader of the Vakbond Voor Machinisten en Conducteurs (VVMC) Union, which is the biggest union representing train personnel in the country.
When Secretary Harbers added that the finer details of the ‘asylum bus’ are being considered, Eilert responded: ‘So, now we’re waiting. But it cannot be that the nuisance users [of the last service] can ride for free in this new service. It sends a bad signal, that bad behaviour will be rewarded. I find it great that measures will be taken to protect bus drivers, but giving people free rides on the asylum bus? No.’
Eilert has another, more odious argument, against free transport for the ‘nuisances’: ‘I fear that, if the bus is made free, significantly more people will make use of the service to take the train from Emmen, and then onwards.’
According the Eilert, the latter part of his prediction is already coming true: ‘And the train personnel also have to deal with great nuisances from this. They do annoying things to other passengers, and sometimes threaten train staff. If these people are brought for free to the train, then nuisances will continue to rise, I fear. The problem is then moved, and that shouldn’t be so.’
The asylum-seekers centre in Ter Appel can hold more than 2,000 people, and is therefore the largest in the country. It houses the ‘signing in centre’, where recently-arrived people register, and is also a destination for people from lower-risk countries.