SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – “I put the word “decolonization” in quotation marks, because many things are being said regarding decolonization, but seemingly meaning different things to different persons on St. Maarten. While this is good and healthy for the public discourse, when the Government weighs in, it takes on another dimension,” stated Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams on Wednesday about the proposal for the establishment of a Permanent Decolonization Committee in Parliament.
The MP explained that “a week ago the Prime Minister made a few interesting and sometimes startling remarks regarding this matter. In responding to questions regarding St. Maarten’s “trajectory” to the United Nations (UN), the Prime Minister alluded to answers she has provided to the Parliament on the matter. “I have not seen these answers, so I am quite interested in what trajectory the Government of St. Maarten envisages for “decolonization”.
Does this trajectory include steps to be taken and what are these steps? Government cannot en passant throw this out and not inform the people what it entails and what plans the Government has in this respect.
Prime Minister Jacobs stated, inter alia, the following:
-Part of the issue is that you can not take your claim to the UN.
-Decolonization process was not finished;
-that the Netherlands is aware;
-the necessary walk will be walked in that direction even as we continue to negotiate for the short, medium and then longer term,
-For the Orchestrators of 10-10-10, the goal was that we would be self governing
-Treated as colonies, to be dealt with collectively.
-Decisions made back then hampers the ability to self-govern, e.g. financial supervision.
-That you have to ask permission for a loan as a sovereign country, is against the international regulations of a decolonized country.
-We have obligations and understanding to help each other, conditions that are being laid down are not in accordance with UN laws and rules which are higher than ours.
-Netherlands will have to reckon with the reality and hopefully they will start from now.
If one looks at these statements, there are many contradictions that must be addressed by the Government of St. Maarten. While there are many and varied opinions and writings on this matter, there are some indisputable facts.
These are that the will of the people and the right to self-determination are inalienable rights. Deriving from that, the very UN will frown on any Government taking steps in exercising the right to self-determination, however interpreted, without consulting the people they represent and secondly, that right to self-determination is ours right now. We have no need for that to be ratified by anyone.
“The UN is also clear on how that right can be exercised, namely by opting for independence, free association or integration. So the Government of St. Maarten should come clear on their intentions, if they have any, for the political future of our country. This so-called trajectory to the UN is in my opinion a smokescreen and another example of the Government kicking a can down the road to maintain the peace amongst the governing coalition partners”, the MP concluded.