SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – With the opening line “The ongoing saga at our borders has to stop”, Member of Parliament, Sarah A. Wescot-Williams through the local Government requests that Foreign Affairs Minister S. Blok, takes up his responsibility with his counterpart in Paris.
MP Wescot- Williams: The ongoing saga at our borders has to stop. Today it is closed coming into Philipsburg, tomorrow it is closed going into Marigot. We have no guarantee that the announced opening date by the French authorities will stand and furthermore that the borders will not be closed again for an indefinite period of time. Accepting this for what it is can have serious repercussions for this island going forward.”
Foreign Affairs is one of the areas according to the Charter of 1954 that is a Kingdom Affair. While the countries have some flexibility in foreign relations, the ultimate responsibility lies with the Kingdom.
“The Kingdom Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been actively engaged in the Oyster Pond Border Dispute. As recently as August 31, the Minister for Foreign Affairs responding to question from Dutch Parliamentarians, assured the Second Chamber that his ministry is diligently working with the French on solving this dispute on St. Martin. If we or our local French counterparts can not get the attention of the French State for this dilemma that the island is facing, then it is time that Minster S. Blok assumes his responsibility for the conflict which clearly exists.”, said MP Wescot.
The MP is of the opinion that “If Minister Blok and Dutch MPs can be so insistent about the Oyster Pond conflict and the position of the business Cactus Tree NV in all of this, they should concern themselves even more about the fact that all borders between the two parts are opened and or closed at the discretion of the French State”.
“It is clear in my view that the border closure by the French authorities has more to do than only with the Covid-19 pandemic. If my assumption is correct, then we need to address these issues (education, social welfare, taxes etc.).” the MP continued her statement.
Interesting is as well that in his responses to the Second Chamber on the matter of the St. Maarten/St.Martin borders, Minister Blok references the Treaty of Concordia and so the question begs, does this Treaty not apply when either side decides to unilaterally close the border for whatever reason? Minister Blok recently completed a treaty with the French State regarding stationing military and other personnel on St. Maarten/St. Martin. How will this work if the border situation is not worked on and if it is allowed to continue to escalate? How will a solution for Oyster Pond (Cactus Tree NV) work if that border is closed at random?
The Member of Parliament of St. Maarten has requested Prime Minister Jacobs to forward aforementioned questions to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands through the Government’s representative in the Hague and requested that the Prime Minister makes a point of getting the necessary representation at that level.