It is one thing to wholeheartedly disagree on the principle of whether a donor (the Netherlands) may attach conditions to the large-scale interest-free provision of liquidity support to an island (Sint Maarten) in need. It is even possible to argue that the decolonization process has or has not been completed – even if it is very late, after all, the Statute is already 66 years old and in 2010 Sint Maarten voluntarily agreed to the status of autonomous country within the Kingdom. But politics in Philipsburg, at least the majority, is going a step too far by accusing the Netherlands at the United Nations (UN) for neo-colonialism, racism and xenophobia. Crosses borders. Moreover, Kingdom partner the Netherlands is affected where it is most sensitive, namely by harming its reputation internationally by stating in the authoritative American newspaper The Washington Post that there is a “racial settlement”. This is because the government of Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs requested a life preserver in connection with the corona crisis and received a bag of money-linked-to-conditions for this. It does not concern the entire States, because there are also two factions that expressly distance themselves from this action and rightly warn that a handful of politicians are putting the fate of the Sint Maarten population at risk. Last year, the Netherlands provided 175 million guilders in liquidity support (in addition to gifts for food parcels and other emergency aid; matters that are actually the primary responsibility of an autonomous government). The amount of 175 million may not seem like much – compared, for example, to the 668 million that Curaçao received (not including the 170 million for the solution to the Giro Bank problem) and the 414 million for Aruba – but it is almost two-thirds of what Sint Maarten residents generated tax revenues in 2020 (only 288 million). Of course, they are loans, free of charge (= without interest), and it would be nice to the Netherlands if they could be canceled at some point, because according to the Central Bank CBCS it is already clear that the countries cannot pay them off for the time being. But the fact that the money is being conditioned is because much of the homework by the (islands) countries has not been done in recent decades. Almost all measures in the Coho Landspacks (Caribbean Body for Reform and Development) are matters for which the political administrators themselves should have been responsible for much earlier. Setting conditions, however, does not come close to racism. There is (also) something else at play. The allegations from Philipsburg seem mainly due to frustration and revenge from the corner of Heyliger and Corallo, who are ‘represented’ in parliament by States members Grisha Heyliger-Marten (yes, wife of Theo Heyliger, who was sentenced to prison) and her party colleague Rolando Brison. ; as “puppets on a string”. There is therefore talk of the “Cupecoy Shadow Government”. They not only take the majority in parliament in tow, but also put Prime Minister Jacobs in a difficult position. Is this really what the population wants? Nota bene in a crisis of unprecedented magnitude. Because there is more to it: financially it is a drama and in the judicial area is being demolished what has recently been built on. The right-minded on Sint Maarten, including the business community, are rightly very concerned. But much more than in Curaçao and Aruba, they are concerned from the wings. They don’t step forward. That is above all the moral duty of the Sint Maarten elite: step forward, to prevent worse, and mark the boundaries. Before it’s too late and the baby is thrown out with the bathwater. Sint Maarten is not far from there. https://antilliaansdagblad.com/nieuws-menu/commentaar-ad/23275-politiek-sint-maarten-overschrijdt-grenzen
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Judith Regina Roumou
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