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Published On: Fri, Dec 18th, 2020

A very bad situation

By Hilbert Haar

Now they’ve really done it. I never thought that the government would be so daft to put the livelihood of its citizens at risk by stubbornly refusing to accept the Dutch conditions for liquidity support and – let’s not forget that one – the refinancing of a 50 million-guilders loan.

Minister Plenipotentiary René Violenus blamed the Dutch in Friday’s meeting of the Kingdom Council of Ministers for the situation St. Maarten finds itself in. Did Violenus act on his own? Of course not. He is the responsibility of Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs Silveria Jacobs. Violenus was just following orders and now those order have come back to bit the government in its arrogant behind in a ferocious manner.

There is, at the time of this writing, no deal about continued liquidity support. No deal about the refinancing of that loan.

Instead, the government will have distance itself from Violenus’ statements if it wants to save the day. It has to distance itself from the pipe dreams of the Pro Soualiga Foundation. And it will have to distance itself from the insults parliamentarians launched at state Secretary Knops last Monday.

What were those insults again? “Mafia” and “gangster-style negotiations” (MP Grisha Heyliger), “Hitler-thinking” (MP Emmanuel) and “A little Napoleon without a sense of direction” (MP Buncamper).

Right. How would, for instance, MP Emmanuel react if Knops would compare him to, say, Idi Amin? Not that Knops would ever do something like that of course but still, it would not be much different from Emmanuel’s Hitler-thinking. Next thing you know, if there is no deal by the end of the weekend, somebody will say that the Netherlands is putting St. Maarten in a concentration camp.

What is the point of all this? And what do this government and this parliament think to achieve? What are they protecting? Autonomy? I thought we had that already.

The only thing this little country does not have is money – at least, not enough to keep the government apparatus going for a very long time or to provide the services its citizens are entitled to.

No matter how you look at it, this is a very bad situation. The Netherlands is not to blame for it. The blame is squarely and fairly in the court of the government and the parliament.

If these people do not come to their senses very soon businesses will suffer. Citizens will suffer. Come to think of it, they are already suffering. And for what? I am tempted to think that Hitler, Napoleon and the mafia combined had more vision than our seriously misguided politicians.

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