ORANJESTAD- In a statement sent out on Sunday afternoon, Island council member Clyde van Putten said that democracy is a birthright and a human right, and that therefor no conditions should be attached to the return of full democracy to the inhabitants of the island.
“The people of Sint. Eustatius should not be negotiating the return of democracy. From the onset, it was wrong for the Dutch government and parliament to impose this type of draconian measures based on erroneous and baseless accusations that were leveled against my government at the time”, according to Van Putten.
Van Putten said that the ‘Wiseman Report’, which was an articulation by political detractors of the Progressive Labor Party that governed the island Between 2015 and 2018, was used as an excuse by the Dutch to remove the lawfully elected government from office by means of what he referes to as a ‘coup d’état’. The councilman further stated that 4 years later, after the serious and baseless accusations that were leveled against his administration, the Dutch government has failed up to now even after various investigations to bring forth any credible evidence to substantiate their decision that led to the takeover of the government on the 7th February 2018.
“‘I thought that with the coming of the State Secretary Alexandra van Hufflen,we would have been able to turn a new page and improve upon the relations between the Hague and Sint Eustatius”, but this does not seem the case”, said Van Putten, adding he was disappointed.
“Refusing to restore democracy is an outright rejection and disrespect of the will of the people as expressed in the elections of October 2020”.
Van Putten also stated that it seemed clear that the people of Sint Eustatius are being now punished because of the dislike by the Hague of an individual or a political party. He referred to statements made by the state secretary and other senior officials, which suggest that they wanted to be cautious in avoiding a repeat of the past. “What was the problem in the past? The only thing I can think of is that during the governing period we worked towards making Statia more sustainable and less dependent on handouts from the Netherlands””. Van Putten continued to say he is convinced that the sole reason for the takeover of his administration by the Dutch, was based on their decision to opt for the PLP/Merkman coalition for a full measure of self-governance, in keeping with the agreement signed by the Dutch in 1952 with the United Nations.
“The Hague should not determine which political party or individuals can be elected on the island and who become commissioners. This is totally up to the people in a free and fair election”.
Van Putten also noted that the Dutch Government, together with their partners was publicly condemning the assault on Ukraine by Russia, and dubbed this a violation of the democratic rights of the Ukrainian people. “I wish to ask what is the difference between that situation and the coup d’état that was carried out by the Dutch government, where a lawfully elected government of Sint Eustatius was removed. I must say I find the Dutch very hypocritical and inconsistent in their actions”.
The councilman said in conclusion that after 4 years of Dutch occupation and with 3 appointed commissioners and their expert teams running the affairs of Island, they have failed miserably at every level to live up to their promises made since they took over the government. “Even in conversation with the common man on the street they would tell you that the situation of the island and Government is the worst that it has ever been. Our people are dying for proper medical care, poverty is continuously rising, inflation and the cost of living is at an all-time high and we are being taxed heavily despite the worsening economic situation on the island”
Van Putten said he was calling on the Dutch government, the upper and lower houses of Parliament to honor and respect the democratic principles and the human rights of our people and restore democracy forthwith to free and fair people here on ST Eustatius”.