In the early 90’s while I worked at the immigration department, I had a discussion which I concluded, was an interrogation. It had to do with our IT system which they wanted to change. Their mission was to be able to have insight into our immigration system and basically know who lives on St Maarten and who was traveling to and from the island.
The discussion then moved to the office of the then commissioner of police Mr. Derick Holiday. After listening further, I took a blank sheet of paper and wrote on it in capital letters the word CONTROL and showed it to one of my colleagues. Their mission was clear.
In 1998, I wrote an article entitled “The recolonization of St. Maarten for which some said to me that I did not know what I was talking about and that St. Maarten has nothing to offer. I wonder if today they are of the same opinion. In 2016 I attended the IPKO meeting which was held in The Hague.
We were given an excursion by Prime Minster Mark Rutte during which he said and let me paraphrase “St. Maarten is in an ideal location for Trade and Commerce”. Hence interest in the Harbor and the Airport, not excluding Gebe and who knows if Telem is not also on the agenda. We all are aware of the investigations that are ongoing as it relates to some of our government owned companies and also some politicians who were convicted and others who are under investigation.
Some might blame this as the reason the Dutch want to take control of this paradise. I don’t agree. This has been their mission for years. A politician from our sister island of Anguilla over a decade or more or so made a statement at a gathering to which I was invited in my function as a member of the Island Council of St. Maarten. It was held in the area of Maho.
Let me paraphrase what he said, “They brought us here on slave ships and scattered us on the islands. They squeezed us and put a lot of pressure on us. Because of the pressure we became pearls and now they want us back. I could not have agreed more back then and still do today but with more knowledge and the fact that they never left.
Their laws and court or legal systems are on all the islands since their invasion some 500 years ago. In 2010 the Netherlands Antilles was dissolved, St. Maarten and Curacao received its separate status or became a constituent state within the State of the Netherlands and Saba, St. Eustatius and Bonaire (Bonaire which is practically overrun by the allochtoon (non- indigenous people from the Netherlands) became something they called the BES Islands.
From that time to present all the islands have been under consistent pressure financially and legally. I read an article where it says that Saba has incurred a profit of I think $1 million? My question on this is the following; did the Saba people benefit from this?
St Maarten never received the promised 180 million which was to give us a sound financial start. We can have a debate as to why we did not receive it but my response remains (afspraak is afspraak) an agreement is an agreement. As far as I know there were no supplementary documents detailing what should first be in place prior to signing the final accord on this issue.
Even so they are consistent when it comes to moving the gold post. An old argument persist that we should have remained as a Netherlands Antilles. That is history and it is time we look to the future. What we should not lose focus of is that they imposed and continue to impose their might by tightening their grips on us with their undemocratic legislation and our inability to unite as a people.
The Democratic Deficit continues, they refuse to establish a Constitutional court and establishing the dispute regulation continues to be a sticking point. They forced a yet to be concretized Integrity chamber on us. You might be asking the question as to what can we do as a small island? Who can we turn to?
The Dutch are in charge of Nationality, Defense and very importantly International Affairs. Can you imagine we can’t even join Caribbean Community Regional Integration (Caricom) without their permission? The survival of St. Maarten depends on its leaders and its people. What we need is international support from our Caribbean families and those from Latin America. We are talking about a combined population of some 670 million people.