Published On: Wed, Jul 1st, 2020

Dean Bar Association welcomes Dutch intervention at Pointe Blanche prison

Geert Hatzmann - AttorneyPHILIPSBURG – The Dutch parliament approved the motion of Chris van Dam that asks the Kingdom Council of Ministers to take control of the Pointe Blanche prison for the next five years with a large majority on Tuesday. How State Secretary Drs. Raymond Knops is going to execute the motion remains unclear; Knops said last week that this would involve intervening in St. Maarten’s internal affairs.

Attorney Geert Hatzmann, the Dean of the local Bar Association has welcomed the motion’s approval. “The essence of this motion is that the Pointe Blanche dossier is taken away from St. Maarten and that the Netherlands will take care of the realization of a modern prison that meets today’s standards of safety and humanity.”

Hatzmann says that Dutch intervention is “an absolute necessity” and he dismisses the opinions of politicians like Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs and UP-MP Grisha Heyliger-Marten that the Netherlands does not treat St. Maarten as an equal partner and that the Netherlands is busy re-colonizing the island. “This is nothing but demagogic nonsense.”

Hatzmann dissects the colonialism-argument deftly: “The Netherlands does not benefit from St. Maarten; it is only a significant expense. The Netherlands only maintains a constitutional connection with St. Maarten and it provides financial, material and personnel support because it feels a moral obligation to do this.”

Furthermore, Hatzmann notes, “The Netherlands has sent food packages and a large group of marines to prevent that the people in St. Maarten would butcher each other for food and water and that looting would deteriorate into mass-executions of apocalyptic proportions.”

If the Netherlands is going to intervene now, the attorney continues, it is because it wants to put an end to “a jet-black period of structural serious human rights violations that have been going on for years. Local politicians have been looking away and done nothing about this problem; this way they have shown their incompetence. “It is rather hilarious that they are now talking with holy indignation about colonizing and colonialism. They ought to be ashamed of themselves.”

Hatzmann points out that St. Maarten is “absolutely not the equal” of the Dutch government, adding that it is arrogant of Prime Minister Jacobs to demand equal treatment.”

“The Netherlands has 17 million inhabitants and St. Maarten a bit more than 40,000. St. Maarten is not a country; it is a village that plays little country.  “All those inflated little aldermen have themselves and common people call them “Your honorable minister,” they drive around in luxury cars with drivers and receive a salary that is ten to fifteen times the average.”

“The prime minister screams at “her” people that they have to eat sardines and crackers but she makes sure that the people who belong to her entitled in-crowd get emergency passes that give them access to steak and whiskey.”

The attorney says he is convinced that most people on the island don’t care about its constitutional status.”Abstract ideas about self-governance and independence don’t play a part in everyday life: it does not buy you a loaf of bread at the baker or offer consolation when your child chooses for a criminal career and ends up in prison or gets shot to death due to the lack of existential perspective. People want a prosperous and healthy life that is as safe as possible. That’s what is making them happy.”

If more Dutch influence on governance and policies in St. Maarten is necessary for the community’s optimum happiness than people will agree with it from the bottom of their hearts,” Hatzmann concludes. “Even if that goes at the expense of the power of Prime Minister Jacobs and her political cronies.”