THE HAGUE – In the run-up to the House of Representatives elections, the Caribbean Network publishes interviews with politicians about the Caribbean community. Isaura Carrilho wants to be in the House of Representatives on behalf of Denk, because she thinks that The Hague politics does not stand up for the Caribbean youth.
You focus on Caribbean youth, as is evident from your election spot in Papiamento, for example. Why?
“Politicians have to make a more modern step in how you appeal to people to go to the polls. I want someone to feel the need for what I mean. For example, if I want to appeal to young people from Curaçao and I talk about representation and students, you can’t make it not to drop a campaign in Papiamento. ”
But why are you addressing the young?
“We are not visible at all. We Caribbean youth do not speak up, while government policy does have an impact on us. We are still the group that is most discriminated against in the labor market. Why is no one talking about it? That’s because we are less politically active. ”
“If the Dutch students are doing badly, how do you think the Caribbean students are doing? I think we should demand much more that much more attention should be paid to Caribbean youth from the Council of Ministers of State. Both the Netherlands and the islands have an interest in the return of these young people after their studies. ”
‘The Caribbean community is very difficult to reach’
In the previous elections, Denk was hardly popular with the Caribbean Dutch, according to a study by Kantar Public. That was because your party was too focused on the people of Turkish and Moroccan background, says former Member of Parliament and PvdA member John Leerdam.
“I don’t recognize that. The Caribbean community is very difficult to reach, we have certainly tried. With the campaign team we literally went to all train stations where many Antillean people are. But how do you ensure that people also see the need to vote? “
And does the Caribbean voter see that need now?
“Political awareness has grown over the past four years. Because of Black Lives Matter, people understand the need to vote much better. Also because of the corona measures. People see how much direct influence political decisions have on their freedom and quality of life. ”
‘Black Lives Matter makes people understand the need to vote much better’
What are the two things you want to work on as soon as possible?
“To be much more critical of the policy pursued by State Secretary Knops (Kingdom Relations). And from the National Council of Ministers looking at how we can improve the well-being of students. How can we monitor them? Until now that has not even been arranged! ”
You grew up partly on Curaçao and in Amsterdam. You are 26 years old and you work for Denk for a few months as a fraction employee in the House of Representatives. Why do you want to become a Member of Parliament now?
That’s exactly why! As a policy officer I do all the work of a Member of Parliament, I notice that I have the skills and the capacities to do that. I see the problems, I hear the signals and I am still young. Now I am close to my immediate environment. I am not part of the administrative apparatus. ”
‘Many MPs do not have the insight of the local Caribbean citizen’
Many political parties are absent from the Parliamentary Committee on Kingdom Relations, in which many Caribbean issues are raised and discussed every month. Denk was present at the major debates, but mostly absent from this committee.
“That is mainly due to the workload, because we are a smaller group. We are there for the bigger debates. It is important that we quickly have Caribbean politicians there, because many MPs do not have the insight of the local Caribbean citizen. ”
There is a ‘neo-colonial attitude’ of the Netherlands towards the islands, according to your party program. What do you mean exactly?
“So that the Netherlands determines what happens there on all three autonomous islands. The Coho, the support agreement on which Curaçao depends, is an example of this. Plans are written here and not in conjunction with. Then it’s: just accept it, because you don’t have the money anyway! And so Curaçao is forced to take three steps back in autonomy. ”
‘It is important that there are more people in The Hague who come from the islands’
According to the CDA, the islands have too small a community to be able to do law enforcement, such as the management of the prisons and the police forces, on their own. It can be better arranged at the Kingdom level.
“No, that’s not a good idea. When we talk about so-called Kingdom affairs, you see that the Netherlands will determine everything. Power must be distributed fairly. The solution lies in working together and exchanging a lot of knowledge. ”
According to the VVD, there is no cooperation, ‘because the islands too often fail to comply with the agreements’.
“There is a cultural difference and parties such as VVD and CDA do not take this into account enough. That is why it is important that there are more people in The Hague who come from the islands or have lived there. ”
Your party advocates apologies for the slavery past and reparations. What should we think about?
“It doesn’t mean that you have to pay money to individuals, but it does mean investing in the Caribbean community with projects. In the well-being of our students, for example. ”
‘If the islands fall, the Netherlands will fall too’
In the past decades, hundreds of millions have been invested from The Hague on the islands in, for example, education, social projects and law enforcement. That is by no means enough, you argue.
“Just look at St. Maarten after hurricane Irma. How many projects have been realized with the 500 million? How many houses have been built? What has become of all those investments? That a lot of money is always spent on bureaucracy. ”
So, as far as Denk is concerned, much more of the Dutch budget must go to the Caribbean. Critics will say: we residents of the Netherlands pay taxes for the Netherlands, not for the autonomous islands.
“I say to those people: you have no other choice. We live in the Kingdom of the Netherlands with a statute that says that the quality of life is at the same level everywhere. And that is not the case now. If the islands fall, the Netherlands will fall too. And do you want less migration here? Even then you will have to invest. ”
The elections for the House of Representatives are on 15, 16 and 17 March 2021. Download and view the Denk party program for their views on the Caribbean .
Want to stay informed about the other parties? Then subscribe, just like other readers, to the weekly newsletter of the Caribbean Network (NTR).
PHOTO: Isaura Carrilho is number 6 on the Think party slate.