The French Government is treating the situation in northern Soualuiga as “Civil Unrest”. South side border control is the responsibility of Holland. When the Prefete contacted the Interim Government, one would expect that the Prime Minister would have re-directed the State representative to the appropriate authorities in the Hague.
I fully expected that our local Government officials would have reached out and voiced our concerns. When I say “our” and “we”, I refer to Soualuiga, both north and south. The treaty of Concordia represents the unity between our residents and citizens, more so than our European counterparts. As the people of this 37 square-mile island, we stand together in solidarity in the face of adversity.
Having worked in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport in the previous administration, I was privileged to collaborate closely with both Departments of Culture, under the leadership of Vice President of the Collectivite Valerie Damaseau and Clara Reyes. Together, the island enjoyed celebrations of the commemoration of the Treaty of Concordia, Emancipation Day and an extraordinary Sint Maarten Day weekend. The borders hold no restriction on our shared identity.
As I listened to a radio interview on Sunday, December 15, with the honourable Interim Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, it was good to know that the South side would not be permitting French military reinforcement to come into our ports for action against the conscientious protesters on the north. However, I was appalled and disappointed to hear that Prime Minister Jacobs’ based her response on fear of reprisal actions from our brothers and sisters, making this the main motivating factor to not permit France to use the south side to bring in their troops. This is not an occasion for violence, nor a place for fear.
Our response should be motivated by concern for and unity with our brothers and sisters. If the Hague and Paris approach our shores for military invasion that we feel is excessive and oppressive, then we must stand together. Let the Kingdom know that WE are not happy and that WE stand in solidarity because WE are in it together. Justice for one is justice for all.
The opportunity is here to show the world that at the end of the day WE are one. I hope that the population knows who WE really are. WE are the people who love this island and its heritage. WE are the ones who embrace her culture, deepening her roots and strengthening her boughs. WE are the citizens who will defend her history and spread her fame.
Just as our ancestors worked together to emancipate themselves from slavery, so today, we can unitedly refuse to be oppressed by any forces We look to Government to solve our problems, but it is WE who have strayed from the way our fore-parents taught us to be. . Let peaceful action triumph over the hateful actions of those so willing to oppress this season.
For those who want to celebrate Christmas, make it a time of caring for those in need. Instead of the extra shopping and redecorating, celebrate LOVE, COMPASSION and PEACE. Forget the curtains and new sheets. See who you can bless with some groceries or help someone trying to rebuild. Yes, jollification and neighbourly care are part of the real S’Maatn way.
“There is a time for everything under the sun,” says the Teacher. Be ready to stand up for the things that really matter because that was charge given to us by Christ. Before someone says this is a call to action for our brothers and sisters in the North, it is not. IT IS A CALL TO ACTION, PERIOD!
The political representatives, community leaders and various stakeholders have jointly met and as a collectivité, there will be a united, apolitical, non-violent silent protest for tomorrow, December 17 at 10 am on the Marigot Waterfront. Let us stand together dressed in white.
We stand together, and for each other.
We stand for the right and do it in love.
We stand for liberty, equality and fraternity.
S’Maatn, together we can!
Keith Peter J. Gittens
Deputy Leader of the SMCP