Published On: Mon, Sep 3rd, 2018

Relying on our own strength with the will to support each other

By Elco Rosario

It was around September 1998 when I was visited in my notary office on Sint Maarten by two intelligence agents, one from Holland, Mr. Oosterlaken and one from Curacao, Mr. Schuschen. They had come to finish an interrogation which had started on March 9th of that year. Topic: the functioning of the notary by us. Like the first part of the interrogation this one also felt to me like giving an introductory class to students. At the end the two gentlemen thanked me for the information given and admitted that they had learnt a lot. I then told Mr. Oosterlaken who had been the leading agent in the interrogation: “I could have given you the same information when you had come to Sint Maarten to investigate my deeds and when, as you knew, I went to Holland for a couple of days to give a lecture. In that case there would have been no need to arrest me there.” He wryly smiled. Mr. Schuschen stood by with a big grin on his face. What appeared afterwards was that some Dutch politicians had come to the conclusion that whenever we Antilleans had reached an important position we would become corrupt and that our leaders would not do anything about that so that they had to take matters in their own hands. One favorite way they loved to expose that “corruption” was to make arrests just around an important meeting between our Kingdom Partners and embarrass us. In my case that was the historic Top Conference between those Partners in the week after my arrest on March 3rd of that year, during which conference the Dutch Prime Minister and the Dutch Minister of Justice and in charge of our Antillean Affairs would present a motion to force our politicians to move up the three most important functions (Legislation, Taxes and Justice) of our autonomous country the Netherlands Antilles and make them part of the layer of Kingdom Affairs, which is controlled by the Dutch. Because of the public reaction caused by my arrest and that of Reinaldo (“Tinchi”) Timp in the so-called Point Pirouette Affair that plan backfired and our politicians sent back the Dutch delegation empty handed. The title (“Injustice in the name of the Queen”) has been waiting for me to write the book about this most devastating episode in my social and professional life, which was followed up by a second attack, that ended by my profession as notary, which I had practiced for almost 20 years, being taken away. The reason I’m writing this article, though, is not because I’m a Makamba-hater, an enemy or even an adversary of the European Dutch, what some of the Dutch have come to say but is totally nonsense. There are some who think they are superior to us but most don’t. And there are some who have good intentions with us but who just make terrible mistakes by thinking they can just apply their values on ours without seriously checking whether that is really the best for us. And then there are also those among ourselves, who just per definition accept that the Dutch are superior to us or others, often in powerful positions who, criticize them when the Dutch rap their knuckles because they don’t comply with their obligations to properly serve their people’s interest. In other persons’ cases and also in my I have noticed that while the Dutch were overzealously mingling in our affairs such was often because our leaders had not been properly doing their own homework. My and Tinchi Timp’s arrests, and possibly others’ too, would not have been necessary had our own authorities properly done their homework and not just sign on to the garbage investigation work by persons like Mr. Oosterlaken when such was thrown in their lap. On the other hand, we should also be very grateful when, after Irma, because of the failure of our leaders the Dutch Marines took over to assist and protect Sint Maarten. All our islands, not just Curacao, should have a monument with the famous words pronounced by Queen Wilhelmina in her speech on December 1942 to: “Rely on own strength but with the will to assist each other”. Perhaps that might help our political leaders to start listening to those, like myself, whose offers to help with their vast experience and love for our people, up to now have been falling on deaf ears.

Sint Maarten, September 3rd, 2018

Elco Rosario