Published On: Wed, Jun 14th, 2023

MP Heyliger-Marten concerned about “non-functioning kingdom”

PHILIPSBURG — Independent MP Grisha Heyliger-Marten experienced the latest session of the inter-parliamentary kingdom consultation (IPKO) as “the least productive so far.”

“The agenda and discussions showed a worrying lack of interest when it comes to the many important issues we have been facing with the kingdom,” she wrote in a press release issued on June 11.

The main bone of contention for Heyliger-Marten is the “deficient structure of the kingdom, calling it “the elephant in the room” and adding that the current structure is not serving the people of the islands. “As long as we do not eliminate those deficiencies we can have all the IPKOs, tripartites, country packages, TWOs (Temporary Work Organizations) and governing programs that we want, and nothing will change for the better for the people we represent.”

The MP also observed that St. Maarten is falling behind other Caribbean nations. “Others are moving ahead and focus on objectives like sustainable development, capacity building, decolonization and reparations in cooperation with each other with direct assistance from the United Nations.”

As examples the MP mentioned the British Virgin Islands that is looking to use article 73 of the UN Charter as a basis for achieving its objectives. “In contrast, the Kingdom Relations Committee of the Dutch House of Representatives cancelled its May 10 meeting on the article 73  fact sheet that it itself commissioned.” The reason for the cancellation was, according to Heyliger-Marten, lack of participation from factions and MPs represented in the committee.

“This is just one very telling example that the Dutch political establishment is not interested in real change and in bringing the kingdom in full compliance with international law.”

Heyliger-Marten furthermore addressed the issue of reparations (compensation for the Dutch role in the history of slavery). “The permanent forum on people of African descent decided last week to work on establishing a global reparations commission and to conceptualize a special global international tribunal to ajudicate (make a formal judgment on) reparatory claims.”

The MP criticized Dutch politicians for “running around in circles in a non-functioning kingdom.” In the meantime, she said, the issues we are facing are dealt with on a global level. “It is therefore high time that we organize a round table conference with all the islands to discuss how we want to continue within the kingdom.”