AMSTERDAM – Dutch Caribbean victims of the benefits affair have fled back to the islands. “People have been terrorized and are crying telling me that they are going back to the islands,” said claims lawyer Orlando Kadir.
Lucia Martis of the Amsterdam community development organization ProFor also knows the stories. “People have been branded as fraudsters by the tax authorities and are afraid of getting into even more trouble and fleeing to their country of origin.”
It is estimated that some 30,000 parents in the Netherlands are victims of unjustified childcare allowance fraud or victims of the harsh approach of the Tax and Customs Administration in 2013. In the meantime, the cabinet has acknowledged the mistakes, has resigned, victims have been promised an amount of 30,000 euros and the debt to government agencies will be forgiven. But much is not yet certain and the victims still live in fear.
Among the victims of the benefits affair is a “disproportionate number of families with a Caribbean background,” said Orlando Kadir, injury and claims lawyer who assists several victims. According to him, it concerns about 8,000 Dutch Caribbean people.
“Some take two or three extra jobs just to pay back their debt. Kadir quickly sums up the abuses he hears from his clients. “People have been terrorized and are crying telling me that they are going back to the Antilles.”
‘We prefer to solve our problems internally’
Tahirah Kleinmoedig, Youth protector in the Rijnmond region and recognizes the stories. “Many of our people are afraid of youth care. Afraid that they will lose their children and then they flee to the Antilles. ” According to her, it is only the tip of the iceberg because “we prefer to solve our problems internally.”
Even Kleinmoedig, who is from Curaçao, does not often hear the stories. “Hardly anyone dares.” But because she herself is also a victim of the benefits affair, she takes care of something outside of work. “Now and then you get a PM or app from people looking for help. Then I refer them. ”
Caribbean Dutch, Surinamese and others with a dark skin color were also discriminated against by the tax authorities, Kadir said. “People talk about ‘everything seems like a nest of Antilleans’ . Downright racist. ”
Lawyer Khadija Bozia, who has around 30 victims – including Dutch Caribbean – under her wing, has been following the developments in the protracted affair for years. “Around December 5, civil servants were not talking about ‘package day’ but ‘package day’ and they are talking about ‘blacks’ when they mean Antilleans. That’s gross discrimination, ”says Bozia.
“When you see what it has done to people. People have been unjustly destroyed and damaged financially and emotionally. Trust in the government has been damaged, ”says the lawyer.
Klein-hearted herself is also despised and humiliated. “They want their file but they can’t do anything with it,” Kleinmoedig quotes the tax authorities. “I was treated like a criminal. Two guards followed me when I went to collect my file from the tax authorities. ” She is still furious when she tells her story.
“We won’t be putting out our dirty laundry any time soon. We try everything to resolve it internally, ”says Kleinmoedig. Kadir notices the same attitude in many of his Caribbean clients: “It happened to you. It is a shame. Keep it small. Maybe it will pass by itself. ”
The Dutch government does meet the victims, but private creditors are already at the door. The debts of the victims vary from 30,000 to 200,000 euros. Injury and claims lawyer Kadir: “Twenty of the victims have a debt of 30,000 – 35,000 euros, and no less than eighty percent 130,000 – 200,000 euros.”
Martis (ProFor) “The newspaper says that you are a fraud, so you get stressed because the amounts are large.” The result is that the bills cannot be paid, parents have no money for clothes for the children. “People are going down the wrong path,” notes Martis. “They deliver ‘packages’ for a little bit of money and they sell their bodies, prostitution.”
“Are you in shit, get help!”
The material damage is great and the immaterial damage is added to that. Kadir. “That is 35,000 to 40,000 euros. I am the only party that enforces that. ” Many Caribbean victims don’t get around to claiming that damage. Kleinmoedig believes that the Dutch Caribbean should not be ashamed to sound the alarm. “Are you in shit, get help.” https://caribischnetwerk.ntr.nl/2021/02/01/veel-caribische-nederlanders-slachtoffer-toeslagenaffaire/
Categories: Netherlands Vs Former Antilles