Editorial: In their shoes

Some were no doubt relieved to read in Tuesday’s paper that plans to discuss putting St. Maarten back on the decolonisation list of the United Nations (UN) during the tri-partite meeting with Curaçao and Aruba ahead of the Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultation IPKO taking place in the Netherlands were quickly abandoned. Independent parliamentarian Cornelius de Weever actually had suggested adding the topic to the IPKO agenda when the Independence for St. Martin Foundation made a presentation to Parliament in Philipsburg recently and received support from Franklin Meyers of the UP fraction.

Parliament President Sarah Wescot-Williams pointed out at the time that this should be taken up first within the Dutch Caribbean and soon after added in a letter to the editor that the opposition members might have been a little overzealous. She explained it would mean re-listing the country as a colony and argued that the people would have to decide on such a step, while in her opinion six years of country status is not enough to start a new political process and the focus now should be on nation-building to arrive at that point.

In her current role as delegation leader in The Hague, she also termed executing the idea “a regression.”

Most of the elected representatives at the meeting with the foundation spoke out in favour of independence, but they differ on how and when to achieve it. The request to have a referendum on the issue is thus not likely to be complied with anytime soon.

It’s often stated that the argument of maintaining a Dutch passport is abused by those who oppose getting out of the kingdom at this time. UP leader Theo Heyliger, for example, said the passport of independent St. Kitts and Nevis allows so much freedom to travel that it helps them have a successful citizenship investment programme.

The latter may be true, but it cannot be compared to the continued rights in the Netherlands and consequently the European Union (EU) that Dutch passport holders from the islands enjoy. This may not seem important to those who are already doing fairly well at the moment, but to others it offers certain possibilities that may not be available to them locally for whatever reason.

It’s easy to call that having a colonial mentality, as long as one is not standing in their shoes.
Source: Daily Herald
In their shoes