Published On: Sun, Jun 30th, 2024

Former MP Fritsma still wants to get rid of the Kingdom’s Caribbean territories

PHILIPSBURG — “Every discussion about the future of our kingdom is completely meaningless as long as article 73 of the United Nations Charter is considered as a given.” This statement is part of an article written by Sietse Fritsma, a former parliamentarian for the extreme right party PVV. The question is whether Fritsma’s ideas will resurface now that the PVV will be a part of the new Dutch government.

Fritsma’s explanation of Article 73 is that the interests of the inhabitants of the Caribbean islands come first and that their wellbeing must be promoted “in order to ensure their progress in politics and economic and social progress as well as their progress in the fields of education, their just treatment and their protection against abuse, with respect for their culture.”

In 2013 Fritsma authored concept-legislation aiming to return criminal Antilleans to Curacao, Aruba and St. Maarten. The concept was based on a draft law from former minister Rita Verdonk that never became a reality. Fritsma’s idea went nowhere either, though the message is clear: he still wants to get rid of the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. The problem, he writes in his article, is Article 73 of the UN Charter.

Since its inception in 1945, the Charter was amended only five times and all of those amendments had to do with the expansion of the United Nations. Fritsma is frustrated that the Netherlands is the only country in the Kingdom that cannot abolish the ties with the other countries. “Article 73 means that the Netherlands is the only country in the kingdom that does not have the right to self-determination,” he wrote.

Political proposals to change the relationship with the islands, for instance by turning the Kingdom into a Commonwealth, “always hit the concrete wall of the Charter which indicates that the wishes of the Netherlands are irrelevant.”

Fritsma balks at the notion that the current constellation of the kingdom is the result of history. “The Netherlands took the islands in the past and this carries a responsibility. That position is untenable. How logical is it to eliminate the right to self-determination and the democracy of a country from one generation to the next?”

Fritsma argues that those who want to continue with their burden of care for the islands could submit a claim to France and Spain, countries that have occupied the Netherlands in the past.

Fritsma laughs at the possibility that the citizens of the islands could themselves take the initiatives to step out of the kingdom. “Of course they won’t do that. Nobody is going to tear up a winning ticket from the state lottery. The UN Charter is a free insurance policy that covers all aspects of a society, from the economy to education.”

Fritsma is of the opinion that the Netherlands should be entitled to take its own decisions about the relationship with the islands of the former Netherlands Antilles. He mentions two options to change the situation in favor of the Netherlands: starting an amendment procedure (to change Article 73) and terminating membership of the United Nations.

To take control over the right to self-determination requires political will, Fritsma realizes: “Until now that will has remained elusive among almost all political parties that have been saying for decades that this cannot go on and that something has to change. But what is not there can still come.”

Fritsma is a former employee of the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND). In 2007 he published a book entitled The Immigration Disaster of the Netherlands.

Fritsma was born on March 12, 1972, in Franeker (province of Friesland) as the son of a fisherman. He studied social geography. After his political career, he established a travel agency.

As a parliamentarian, he proposed in 2008 to kick Moroccan youngsters and their parents out of the country if they committed a crime.

Related read: Fritsma PVV Kingdom on egg shells_240629_173539



A rightwing pipedream

Sure, we could get upset by the ideas of Sietse Fritsma, an extreme right politician who once sat in the Dutch parliament for Geert Wilders’ PVV (Party for Freedom), but what’s the point?

Fritsma wrote an article that expresses his frustration about the fact that the Netherlands does not have the right to kick Curacao, Aruba and St. Maarten out of the Kingdom. That right is, and rightly so, under the control of the people who actually live on these islands.

Fritsma liberally laced his article with terms like mafia and corruption without mentioning a single example. And he identified the main obstacle to his wish to get rid of the Caribbean islands: Article 73 of the United Nations Charter. That article indeed saddles the Netherlands with the obligation to take care of islands they once considered profit centers.

That’s all water under the bridge, if we understand Fritsma correctly. What is the justification for robbing a country of its rights from one generation to the next?

Fritsma mentions two possible solutions and both of them will never become a reality. His suggestions? Amend Article 73 of the UN Charter or terminate the Dutch UN-membership.

Even Fritsma understands that terminating that membership will never happen so he goes for his second option as the best alternative. How he wants to amend said article is unclear and he does not seem to realize that the chances of success for an amendment – whatever its contents may be – are slim to none.

The United Nations was established in 1945. Since its inception, its Charter was amended five times and they all had to do with the expansion of the organization (membership quadrupled since 1945). Not a single amendment touched upon the Charter’s fundamental principles.

The last time the Charter was amended was in 1973, more than forty years ago. On September 24 of that year, the UN expanded the number of members of its Economic and Social Council from 27 to 54.

And withdrawing from the UN? During the past almost eighty years, only three countries have made attempts that never became a reality: Indonesia, the United States and the Philippines.

Therefore, Fritsma seems to have one thing right: leaving the UN is not an option, but changing a fundamental article in its Charter also seems to be something that strongly resembles just another rightwing pipedream.