Published On: Tue, Dec 5th, 2017

Van Putten calls Knops “a modern Napoleon”

Clyde van Putten - CN RM

KRALENDIJK – Clyde van Putten calls the new State Secretary of Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops “arrogant” and “a modern Napoleon,” Ronald Muyden reports on Caribisch Netwerk. Van Putten made the statements during a pro-autonomy symposium in Bonaire last weekend. He refused to receive Knops during his recent visit to Statia.

Van Putten said that Knops’ statement during a recent visit to neighboring island Saba that he will financially reward it for good governance, is totally out of bounds. ”The story is that Saba will get more autonomy, not based on more responsibilities as established in the United Nations Charter, but by getting more money. That is unacceptable,” Van Putten said.

The Dutch governing accord states that there will be additional investments in Caribbean Netherlands on the condition of good governance and financial accountability. Saba has been meeting these conditions for years, Knops said. Statia on the other hand is under higher supervision and it demands more autonomy. The tensions between the Dutch government and Statia’s island government have been rising for quite some time.

Knops also regrets what happened to St. Maarten – a reference to the conditions for the reconstruction fund and the instruction to force the previous Prime Minister William Marlin to step down. “The Hague should not abuse a hurricane disaster to solve its political problems. I have often said that the Dutch government has a moral and constitutional obligation towards the islands,” Van Putten said. “It is not a favor. We did not asked to be colonized.”

The Statian politician emphasized that the Kingdom of the Netherlands consists of St. Maarten, Curacao and Aruba, and not just of the Netherlands. “St. Maarten is therefore an equal partner in the Kingdom. Still this autonomous country is pressured by the Dutch cabinet. A country that has its own prime minister who has been directly or indirectly chosen by the population.” Van Putten called this “a violation of the constitutional democracy” of country St. Maarten.

After an earlier pro-autonomy symposium in Curacao Van Putten got into trouble with statements about “burning and killing Dutch soldiers in the streets of Statia.” After former Minister Ronald Plasterk filed a complaint, he offered his apologies and he does not want to talk anymore about these statements and their aftermath.

“It was not easy for my government, my family and especially my children and it is not easy for me,” Van Putten says. “But I have said it before; I am prepared to give everything. I am even prepared to die for what I believe to be good for the people in Statia. As long as I have the mandate and the support of the people we will keep fighting until our people are liberated.”

Photo caption: Clyde van Putten at the symposium in Bonaire. Photo Caribisch Netwerk / Ronald A. Muyden.