SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Member of Parliament (MP) and Faction Leader for the United People’s Party the honorable Grisha Heyliger-Marten is calling on the Dutch Government to finalize the decolonization process that it started almost seventy years ago.
Her position is consistent with the proclamation of the period 2010-2020 as the “Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism” by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10th, 2010 via resolution 65/119.
In a press release issued on Wednesday June 2, 2020, MP Heyliger-Marten said the “Round Table Conference” between the Government of the Netherlands and the six Dutch Caribbean islands should be held by June of 2021.
Heyliger-Marten sent shockwaves throughout the Netherlands Kingdom on May 19th when she submitted a Motion to Parliament in St. Maarten to review the Kingdom Charter “post-haste and address the areas where the Kingdom Charter has failed to deliver.” According to the MP, “there can be no misunderstanding about the fact that the decolonization process mandated by the United Nations was not completed by the Netherlands, and that the current relations within the Kingdom as laid down in the Kingdom Charter (“het Statuut”) and other Kingdom laws are in violation of international law.
She said Wednesday that a “self-government self-assessment” carried out by International Advisor on Governance and Multilateral Diplomacy, Dr. Carlyle G. Corbin, clearly confirms this fact, which had already been established by constitutional scholars for decades. Dr. Corbin’s assessment was carried out for the Government of Curaçao in August of 2012. That report concludes, among other things, that the model of governance established for Curaçao on 10-10-10 is “…not in conformity with contemporary international standards required for a full measure of self-government through autonomy…”
“It is safe to say that this conclusion must hold true for Sint Maarten as well”, said MP Heyliger-Marten. “If we look at all the disputes between the Kingdom partners, and the complaints coming from most of the Dutch Caribbean islands about undue Dutch interference over the years, they only confirm the findings of Dr. Corbin and others. The fact that Dutch politicians also want drastic changes to the current Kingdom structures, shows that there is a broad consensus on the need for change”, said MP Heyliger-Marten.
She considers the findings to be “a solid basis” for all the Governments within the Kingdom to take up the challenge now, and jointly correct the mistakes that were made during the last decades, starting in the 1950’s. “Correcting these mistakes will have immediate positive effects for the people of Sint Maarten and their fellow Dutch Caribbean nationals on the other islands. It will allow their democratically elected representatives to make choices that are in the best interest of their people, without outside interference or hindrance. And in turn, those same people should hold their elected representatives accountable through the local democratic process. That is how true democracy should function.”
On January 15, 2019, Dutch MP André Bosman presented a proposal to the Dutch Parliament to bring the Kingdom Charter in compliance with international law. Since then, State Secretary Knops has invited the three Caribbean Prime Ministers to cooperate with the establishment of a working group to define the “responsibilities” within the Dutch Kingdom.
“I have not seen the proposal of MP Bosman as yet, but I encourage him to put his money where his mouth is and add it to the agenda of the working group”, said MP Heyliger-Marten.
According to the MP, “there already is a blue-print for constitutional change within the Dutch Kingdom. We don’t need to re-invent the wheel. Based on the experiences we gained with preparing for 10-10-10 and the knowledge and insights we gained since then, we should be able to have an RTC in June of 2021 to finalize the process of correcting the mistakes of the past.
The goal of the MP is to realize the vision of the Dutch Caribbean islands to have a full measure of self-government as required by international law. She said this is a necessary first step in order for these islands to prepare for full independence at some time in the future, if that is the will of the people.
MP Heyliger-Marten concluded that she looks forward to Parliament conducting a public meeting on this matter within short, and that the general public will be properly informed on the process moving forward and how it will benefit the people of Sint Maarten in the long term.