Oranjestad, St. Eustatius- The leader of the Progressive Labor Party on St. Eustatius calls the conditions that must be met by Curacao, Aruba and St. Maarten in order to receive Dutch financial assistance in the aftermath of covid-19, barbaric.
Van Putten on Sunday also called the conditions outlined by State Secretary Raymond Knops ‘cruel’ and a ‘downright disgrace’. Van Putten said that it has become a common practice that whenever the islands are most vulnerable, the Dutch Government uses the moment to impose their colonial will and agenda upon the people of the islands.
“This type of practice I find inhumane and a complete blackmail. It is like asking a desperate husband who is in dire need to help his family to give up the keys to the master bedroom of his house in return for assistance”, said Van Putten.
I am of the view that the islands need to get their act together and be less dependent on the Netherlands for handouts -Clyde van Putten
The PLP leader said that when it is convenient the Dutch speak of solidarity within the Kingdom but that this turned out to be nothing less than imposing the will of Holland on the islands. Van Putten also stated that Article36 of the Statute clearly outlines the role of the Kingdom government as it pertains to assisting the other countries within the kingdom in times of natural disasters and pandemics.
Van Putten furthermore said that also based upon international treaties, conventions and protocols to which the Kingdom is part of, they have a ‘moral and legal obligations’ to assist the islands without any form of conditions whatsoever.
Van Putten noted that in the aftermath of hurricane Irma that this same type of treatment was given to the people of St, Maarten, while the Dutch assisted other islands in the regions that were affected by the same hurricane with hundreds of thousands of dollars to aid their rebuilding process, without any form of conditions.
“The question now is why in the time of dire need that our kingdom partners should be subjected to these kinds of draconian conditions, which will further challenge the economic viability of the islands”.
Van Putten said that state secretary Raymond Knops was behaving like a bully and a modern day Napoleon doing everything to get the islands to succumb to his will, which may not be necessarily in the interest of the islands.
The PLP leader also noted that it was now two plus years ago, that the island of St. Eustatius was taken over in a hostile way by the Dutch. According to Van Putten, at the time he had told the three Kingdom partners (Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten) that ‘when your neighbor’s house is on fire, it is imperative to wet yours’. Van Putten said that his call from back then is more relevant than ever, considering the condescending and patronizing manner in which the Hague continue to impose on the islands.
“I am of the view that the islands need to get their act together and be less dependent on the Netherlands for handouts. We need to start finding alternative means in order to resuscitate the economies of the island. We need to stop creating the impression that we are beggars and are always ready to fall on our knees and stretch out our hands to the Dutch to come to our rescue. We are better than that and as leaders we owe it to our people. The time is now for all the islands to start living according to their means and cut the garment according to the cloth”, according to the PLP-leader.
Van Putten said that the moment is right for the islands to come together to discuss the present and future relationship within the Dutch Kingdom. He also stated that the behavior of the Netherlands in constantly meddling in the internal affairs of the islands must be stop.
“The people of these islands did not vote for Prime Minister Mark Rutte and State Secretary Raymond Knops. It is their elected leaders that must determine the course and direction of their respectful islands”, according to Van Putten.
Van Putten concluded by calling on the islands to reject the ‘dictatorial conditions’ put forward by The Hague in return for the financial assistance. “I will tell The Hague, keep their money and I will remain with my pride and dignity”, said Van Putten.