Published On: Mon, Jun 17th, 2024

Cusha Cartoons: the ultimate political satirical guide to St. Maarten

PHILIPSBURG — Cusha Cartoons is more than a collection of 96 satirical cartoons, published on StMaartenBews.com between 2016 and 2023. Almost all of the cartoons come with back stories that offer readers a candid insight into St. Maarten’s political history during the seven years that are covered by the 244-page book.

Author Terrance Rey, the publisher of StMaartenNews.com, went all out to uncover the stories that make St. Maarten to what it is today. Satire is more than a sarcastic view on current events; handled with care, as Rey did, it also puts a smile on the faces of those who see the cartoons, while quite some of them will just shake their heads in surprise as soon as they realize what this is all about.

Rey is a columnist for the Dutch news site DossierKoninkrijksrelates.nl; those columns are bundled in his first book: Cusha Columns. The author is also the host of News Café, a video show that is published on Facebook and YouTube.

Cusha Cartoons addresses a large number of topics; most of them focus on the antics in the political arena. A prime example is the rant of former Member of Parliament (and now founder of the Soualiga Action Movement) Franklin Meyers against Public Health Minister Emil Lee. Meyers said that “only born St. Maarteners” are entitled to have a say about government decisions. Realizing that within his own party (the UP) there was a member of Indian descent (Sidharth Cookie Bijlani), he quickly called him to apologize.

Cusha Cartoons also contains the unabridged speech of William Marlin on the occasion of Constitution Day in 2016.  Quote: ”Six years might seem like an eternity to some but it is no more than a blink in the life of a country under construction.” Marlin also called 10-10-10 – the date when the island became an autonomous country within the kingdom of the Netherlands – as “a pit stop in our march towards full sovereignty.”

What else can readers expect to find in this book? There are cartoons about the ‘sanitary landfill’ appropriately renamed as Mount Trashmore, the border dispute with France in Oyster Pond about Captain Oliver’s and the statement by former Minister of Finance Richard Gibson Sr. that the government’s IT-system “is hanging together with hanger wires and tape.”

Furthermore, the book addresses the heated debate about the establishment of the Integrity Chamber in 2017, politicians (like former MP Chanel Brownbill) ducking taxes and the fall of the Marlin-government in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in 2017.

Cusha Cartoons also celebrates the talent of the artist behind the cartoons: James Baggett who manages time after time to turn vocal instructions into thought-provoking illustrations.

Baggett made cartoons about the arrest and detention of UP-founder Theo Heyliger, the screening process, the (never realized) Caribbean Reform Entity known by its acronym COHO and the ransomware attack on utilities company GEBE by Blackbyte in March 2022.

Cusha Cartoons contains much more than the examples described in this review: it reads as the history of, to quote former Prime Minister William Marlin, “a country under construction.”

For those who are interested in getting to know St. Maarten politics better, this book is the ultimate guide.

The print version of Cusha Cartoons is currently for sale at the Van Dorp book stores and at Adolphus Richardson Office Supplies on the Pondfill Road in Philipsburg.


Related news:
Cusha Cartoons book in production
Cusha Columns unravels the enigma that is St. Maarten