Published On: Sun, Oct 15th, 2017

A slanted relationship

Dear editor,

elton-jones-526x500St. Maarten has survived what is termed as a super storm; the experts agree it is the most powerful storm ever recording in the Atlantic hurricane belt. Collectively we who have escaped with the bare minimum or are lucky enough to still have a place to call home empathize with those who have lost family, friends, acquaintances or have been left homeless, penniless, jobless and displaced. Our own service providers like Gebe, TelEm, the airport, the port and UTS were exceptional even though they too had lost homes. They came out to serve some ingrates who only complain and show no consideration for others.

Thank you guys and forgive me if I forgot anyone. Of course we must recognize the assistance we have received from far and wide, we must mention in particular the aid from the Netherlands, Aruba, and Curacao, members in the Dutch Kingdom.

There is much blab about the functioning of the Dutch marines during and after the passage of the three hurricanes, and I will like to point out that their help was invaluable and most appreciated. One gentleman wrote that he believed that I was one of the persons that were spreading rumors about the marines. That is so unfortunate that it doesn’t deserve a response. I would however say that I don’t deal in rumor mongering and though I know of situations where things didn’t go as it should have, the local authorities were informed of the infractions, and since they were satisfied with the disciplinary action taken there is absolutely no need to belabor that point any longer.

I would also like to address the disgraceful action of the looters who besides embarrassing us to death also set us back close to a year by their actions and costs some fellow St. Maarteners their jobs and give competing islands in the area an opportunity to siphon away this huge input into our economy. I am sure the justice department will deal with you, but so you understand I am totally against any amnesty or community service for your kind. I believe the outsiders who were involved should be declared persona non grata and deported and the locals do hard time to dissuade any such future behavior.

As for the Dutch and minister Plasterk setting prerequisites for aid in the reconstruction is despicable and Mafiosi tactics. It is hard to comprehend how a partner in the Kingdom can use a natural disaster, a humanitarian crisis and the fear and insecurity of a people to hitch political considerations to any aid package. The fact that they also put a deadline only illustrates that this is going to go the same way as the debt relief. When they see we are successfully moving on they will find all excuses to stop the aid. Let me be perfectly clear I welcome all help with border control as long as it is under the jurisdiction of our minister of justice. You just can’t be a country without secure borders, and it is high time we know who is here and after about ten “Brooks Tower Accord” extensions all illegals must now leave. As for the Integrity Chamber, I didn’t believe in it when it was first announced and still don’t, however, you don’t get what you want but what you bargained for, since we agreed we should work it out. Exerting undue force on the local government at this time though is unconscionable and despicable behavior on the part of the Dutch government. We also believe in good governance, accountability and transparency not because you say so but we too want our government to do the right thing for the nation.

To quote a renowned freedom fighter, “Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote the freedom to err.” He further explained to Europe’s greatest colonial power the U.K.  That, “your form of good governance is no substitute for self-governance”. (Mohandas K. Gandhi). We are seven years old and God knows we are apt to make some mistakes and we will need assistance along the way, but do understand what we do is for our people and it must reflect that. We are not trying to replicate The Hague and if your assistance must always be attached to you hostile takeover or your people in all leading positions, thank you but no thanks. I am reminded of the period 1991 to 1998 when we were placed under higher supervision and all that should have changed you were fully in charge and when you left you trained absolutely nobody.

Moreover, I am amused to hear your MPs speaking about the salaries of our MPs, while you allowed your people to collect salaries in excess of 40,000 guilders a month and did nothing to reign it in. I guess when it’s your people it is alright. Your approach and your intentions however well meaning, are in bad faith when you attach pre-conditions and it is wrong to mention figures before any assessment is done. You are using people’s misfortune to stir distrust in their elected officials which is wrong and devious. This cannot improve our relationship. Negotiations with arms on the table can’t work.

Elton Jones