Commentary / Antilliaans Dagblad

One cannot reproach the Netherlands for the fact that politicians in St. Maarten are making a mess of things. But knowing that the Parliament in Philipsburg is hopelessly divided, that an eventual interim-cabinet will have the slimmest margin of support and that it is questionable whether elections will result in more political stability, one ought to be able to expect more decisive action from the ‘mother country’ to offer the civilian victims of Hurricane Irma perspective for a rapid begin of the reconstruction of the devastated country.

It is commendable that politicians in The Hague first went for an agreement on government-level. It was quickly clear that the Marlin-cabinet – with the Prime Minister in the lead – was incapable of doing what may be expected from the government of a country that has been hit by a natural disaster and that it delayed the establishment of a reconstruction fund to be filled with hundreds of millions of euros by the Netherlands.

Sending away the government emphasizes the administrative impotency and unwillingness of a number of local politicians to put themselves at the service of the population.

Through its State Secretary of Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops, Rutte III created the impression that it wants to hold its horses a bit until it becomes clear that it is possible to make agreements at the government-level that are guaranteed in such a way that they cannot be turned back.

During the past couple of years the Dutch government has imposed its will on one of the other Caribbean countries in none too subtle a manner. In not all those cases did it seem necessary to act so compelling.

The desperate situation in which the population of St. Maarten now has been trying to survive for already two months, does present every reason for the Kingdom to act. It is irresponsible to delay this any longer. There are still a couple of days before the next Kingdom Council of Ministers meeting.

As the largest partner in the Kingdom, the Netherlands has the statutory and moral obligation to put an end to the suffocating uncertainty St. Maarteners have experienced unnecessarily for too long.

How this has to be done – based on mutual agreement or compelling with a General Measure of Kingdom Administration – does not matter now. Necessity knows no law and the need is very, very high. If the cabinet in The Hague is not prepared to do this, then it is consciously taken the risk to squander the sympathy it built with the massive emergency assistance it provided, leaving 40,000 fellow Kingdom citizens with the feeling that they are a plaything in an ugly political joust.

Source: Antilliaans Dagblad | Translated by Hilbert Haar

Source: StMaartenNews