Knops ‘unpleasantly surprised’ by Sint Maarten’s complaint about racism

THE HAGUE – State Secretary Raymond Knops of Kingdom Relations is “unpleasantly surprised” by the complaint that Sint Maarten has submitted to the UN special rapporteur on racism. The parliament of Sint Maarten accuses the Netherlands in a petition of racism and human rights violations. According to the petitioners, the Netherlands is trying to use the corona pandemic to return colonial rule.

The Netherlands has attached conditions to the corona support for Sint Maarten. Reforms need to be implemented and the Caribbean Reform and Development Agency (COHO) has been established for this purpose. Together with the ministries on Sint Maarten, among others, this must work out the reforms in education, administration, justice and the economy, among other things.

The petition, which would be backed by 12 of 15 MPs, calls for scrutiny, documentation and action against alleged racist policies, The Washington Post writes. MEP Grisha Heyliger-Marten says in the paper that “they are trying to take full control of our democracy.”

Complaint Sint Maarten to UN: The Netherlands is racist
Knops agrees that there are conditions for the support. But according to him, the government and parliament themselves approved the “cooperation process” at the end of last year. “I have had to conclude that Sint Maarten cannot bear its own autonomy at the moment,” Knops said through his spokesman. He does not want to take away autonomy from the island, but rather “help it to ensure that they can fully bear it in a number of years.” He has asked the government of Sint Maarten for clarification on the petition.

“They have been telling the story for far too long that our people are corrupt and incompetent,” said Heyliger-Marten MP in The Washington Post. According to her, it is just like with Zwarte Piet. “They say it’s not racist, but it is. Just like what they are trying to do to us now. ”

According to the petitioners, racism has affected Dutch policy in the Caribbean. “Look at what the Dutch government is doing with regard to its own citizens in Europe, who are predominantly white, in terms of Covid aid, Covid aid for small businesses and as part of a European-wide funding mechanism,” said lawyer Peter Choharis from Washington, who submitted the petition on behalf of the Sint Maarten parliament, in the newspaper. “Compare that with what they do on the islands, namely: ‘You have to build up more debt and agree to our demands’.”

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