Tamara Leonard lash back at the Dutch Prosecutors

~To the Dutch, who look down on us~

Tamara Leonard 4

Member of Parliament for Sint Maarten Ms. Tamara Leonard

After drinking my Bushtea to deal with the stomach ache I have been suffering from reading on how Dutch politicians and Dutch media depict St. Maarten in the light of the IPKO meetings;  It’s time I speak my mind. I am addressing this to those Dutch people who look down on us. If the shoe fits wear it. To God be the glory as this is the honest truth.

You have no right to insult my people.

You have no right to disrespect the people who reside on my island.

You have no right to tell lies under the pretense of just telling it like it is.

If you feel the need to express your opinions, about the wrongs in my society, then please learn to do so in a decent way. Otherwise just hold your peace.

Now let me speak my piece.

Do not call women, precious creations of the Almighty, who due to poverty and other terrible circumstances have to feed their children by working in a  house with red doors, prostitutes! Shame on you. You should know better. Call these Caribbean women what you call women in Amsterdam who do the same work. You call those women, especially the Dutch ones, commercial sex workers. Call my Dominicano and Colombiano sisters by the same name.

While we are at it, do not depict my island as one big whorehouse with supposedly on average more sex workers than in Amsterdam. I don’t know where you learn your statistics, but you should take such matters into account as the fact that St. Maarten population in relation to our sex workers is not 40.000, but is actually augmented by the more than two million tourists that visit our island every year. Many of these tourists visit these dens. So you should compare that figure with its equivalent in relation to Amsterdam. Then things suddenly look different, and you cannot make such a blatant statement that we have more commercial sex workers than in your big city. Also, while doing your statistics in the proper way, make sure you look at our population build up. We have lots of young immigrant men who migrate here without a family. We have past experiences on this island and many other Caribbean societies, of harassment of young girls by young immigrants and single locals, which makes the existence of brothels a necessary evil. And this not to condone it, but to be truthful that need to regulate it and reeducate men without deceiving ourselves that in the near future we can get rid of it.

Now if you study our economy seriously, and I do so for I am a businesswoman and politician, I think that you Dutch politicians and journalists will sing a different tune about the irregular migrants on our island. Yes the proper term is irregular migrants, or even more proper undocumented workers. Not illegal migrants. No one on God’s planet can be illegal! Our economy is such that in our high season certain sectors depend on this irregular workforce. Raids and clamping down on these men and women, will not solve the matter. What we need to do is while making sure our own have jobs, regulate that these undocumented workers come in when needed and leave with the expectation to return. We need a specific tax measures for them and businesses that hire then in the high season. Our undocumented workers would then be seasonal laborers from our sister islands. There will then be less  need for them to fall prey to human smugglers, or make children on this island; we could create legislation that penalizes season laborers who do so, and, at the same, time create a system that awards good workers who prove their worth with residence rights. While we work on these future policies, we need to take care of the children of the undocumented born on our island; for their sake and for the sake of safeguarding our tourist economy from rampant crime and other unsocial behaviors.

So no I do not see why you want to bring in 50 detectives from Your country to save us. Before we agree to you bringing in your cops, let us put our ablest local policemen in positions they deserve as detectives and chefs. Let our local law enforcers if necessary do trainings in the Netherlands, or our sister island, to improve their performance. Let us build our middle class first, before making yours richer. Let our local young men and women who protect us, because they love the island and care for us, be able to own their own homes and earn a decent living. If you so care about us support us in terms of programs to recruit more our own. It is not unreasonable request, and what is more, you would be acting in character. Afterall, your policy when it comes to development assistance all over the developing world is to promote locals. So why not here on St. Maarten? Or is it that you think so low of us?

Now let me end this, by saying that I hope that the sitting government officials who attended IPKO will also speak out against the way my country, our sweet St. Maarten, is spoken about by certain Dutch politicians and journalists.

I hope also that in all their efforts to curb the unemployment of youths and give school drop outs a second chance, the sitting government will also invest in making sure that those of us who have made it to middle class status and own a little business keep progressing. What good will it profit these youngsters to look up and dream when who they see up there does not resemble them, and those that do are being systematically kept down! What subliminal message are you sending them?

But anyway let me make myself a new cup of Bushtea.

Tamara Leonard

Member of Parliament Sint Maarten

Source: 721 news Tamara Leonard lash back at the Dutch Prosecutors