SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - Over the weekend, the Democratic Party (DP) leader and Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot Williams shared her thoughts on the results of the election in the Netherlands.
Wescot Williams: “The results of the November 22nd Dutch election are in, and many words have been used to describe the unexpected outcome. Political pundits are hard at work, analyzing the political shifts that seemed to have occurred in the last weeks leading up to the election”, the MP stated.
“In the Caribbean part of the Dutch Kingdom and in many European countries, the election outcome, which has put Wilders and his PVV on the center stage, has generated much anxiety”.
Wilders and the PVV are not exactly friends of any of us, MP Wescot opined.
“For years, Wilders has been a hard right-wing politician, who now finds himself in a position to do what he has constantly accused his opponents of not doing and he has been propelled into a position to uphold his views and execute his agenda. It is that likelihood that we on this side of the ocean need to pay attention to.”
The DP leader does not however view the outcome of the election in the Netherlands as necessarily all doom and gloom.
“The diversity of the Dutch society is so engrained, that moderation of extreme views HAS to occur to appease the entire Netherlands’ population. Wilders has cleverly opened the door to a more moderate approach to some of his theses,” MP Wescot stated.
“That we might have a long time of uncertainty is possible and then again maybe not. For right now it is anyone’s guess how exactly things will pan out. In theory, a cabinet without Wilders is possible. This does not however guarantee us anything,” stated the senior politician.
The MP again made the call: “It is urgent therefore that on St. Maarten, we come to a national and clear stance on our relationships in the region, with the Netherlands and with Europe. They all go hand in hand.”
“As the Democratic Party of St. Maarten that shaped the foreign policy of our country, based on the traditional bonds between these islands, we are just as committed today as we were in 2014 when we established the Caribbean-centric regional policy. It is that policy that lies at the foundation of our multi-cultural society that many of our Caribbean brothers and sisters can call home.”
“Secondly, we must make our European citizenship work for something in the benefit of our people. And it is not only about a European passport. We presently enjoy the best of two worlds. While many attempts have been made of the years to change our European relationship, we have been able to resist becoming a UPT of the European Union.”
“In my opinion, a clear stance on our position in the Dutch Kingdom will facilitate our negotiations in the European context. This has been clearly lacking in the past 4-plus years. I admit that Europe is not without its own crises, so we should not expect ourselves to be placed at the top of any agenda.”
As a matter of urgency, we must implore the Kingdom government to let us represent ourselves as full-fledged members of regional bodies. Something is fundamentally wrong when the Netherlands is represented in these bodies and the Caribbean countries are at the most granted observer’s status, MP Wescot stated.
“We have to become stronger in European context in terms of opportunities for our people in areas such as university access, tourism and medicine.”
And again, stressing the party’s position on Caribbean collaboration, MP Wescot stated that “even with the diverse relationships of Caribbean countries with Europe, there is still strength in numbers and St. Maarten needs to regain its leading position in this part of the world. We have slipped big time!”
I say all of that to say that just maybe the Dutch election of November 22nd, will present some unexpected opportunities, if we can only but see and seize them. I eagerly await the opportunity to expound on the DP’s position to the people, MP Wescot concluded.