“The route to the UN via the CLG petition is a way to circumvent the route to the people of St. Maarten for their opinion.”
MP Sarah Wescot is of the opinion that the longer the government pussyfoots around the division in the coalition on the topic of the UN petition, the more detrimental it gets.
MP Wescot elaborates: “By now, the Prime Minister should have received the Kingdom Council of State’s advice on the draft COHO kingdom law and while this advice should be treated with confidentiality, I highly doubt that the St. Maarten government and its coalition MPs in parliament will not discuss this advice ahead of the Kingdom government drafting its reaction to the Council of State’s advice. But even if this advice from the Council of State gives the Caribbean countries some latitude, the ball will remain in the court of the Kingdom government and thus in the court of the Netherlands.”
“The government of St. Maarten has to address the path chosen by a majority in parliament to confront the Netherlands at this crucial time in the negotiations. Not only that, but the entire country is being dragged into a confrontation we did not ask for”, the MP continued.
The Prime Minister of St. Maarten skillfully dodged the issue of the divide between a majority in parliament and the government, as it relates to the agreement with the Netherlands and the demand by State Secretary Knops to receive reconfirmation of the government and parliament for the agreed upon country package and the COHO entity, whether the COHO law is adjusted or not.
To appease some, the government of St. Maarten has jumped on the decolonization bandwagon and claims it only recently came to realize that our current autonomy is flawed.
MP Wescot disagrees: “This “autonomy” is what we/they opted for in 1954 and with that the Dutch Kingdom skillfully put article 73 behind it, scepticism notwithstanding. We (St. Maarten) reaffirmed that status in 2000, using our right to self-determination.”
“What has transpired now is that a majority in parliament feels that the charter clauses such as the office of governor, redress by the Kingdom government , (deficit) Kingdom government, international loan approval, etc.etc can be rectified or eliminated if we shame the Kingdom and claim we are still treated as a colony, because they argue, ‘ self-government is “boss in own house” and that we are not’. The proponents of this decolonization drive thus argue that they want to be in the Charter, but not bound by (all of) the rules.”
MP Wescot presumes: “except maybe for the 3 kingdom affairs of Nationality, Foreign Affairs and Defense. Is that not independence or at least a new political status?, the MP further questions.
MP Wescot made her call for a referendum clear by stating, “what I conclude is that the route to the UN via the CLG petition is a way to circumvent the route to the people of St. Maarten for their opinion on this status change, because that is what it is.”
“From some statements it appears, the decolonization advocates lean towards a more BES-like status and equality for our citizens, and sometimes it appears they want nothing to do with the Dutch Kingdom, but hold on to the Dutch passport.”
“It’s either we are renegotiating the charter or we are renegotiating our status as a country outside of the Dutch charter. In none of these scenarios, is renewing decolonization a wise move and on top of all of that, it is very bad timing, the MP concluded.