OCaN-chairman Helberg steps down

POSTED: 01/12/15 11:01 PM

AMSTERDAM – OcaN chairman Glenn Helberg (59) will soon step down, the leader of the most well-known Antillean organization in the Netherlands told John Samson of Caribisch Netwerk. He says it is time for a breath of fresh air.

“I am now at a stage in my life to transfer,” Helberg says. The Overlegorgaan Caribische Nederlanders (OCaN) first has to find a suitable successor. The main requirement is according to Helberg that it is someone who does not do the chairmanship to flatter his or her ego.

Helberg, a psychiatrist by profession, has been OCaN’s chairman since 2008. The organization works already for more than thirty years in the interest of Caribbean Dutch citizens in the Netherlands. “We mean a lot for our community in the Netherlands. The political influence we could yield, we have used. Look at how often the Second Chamber is referring to OCaN,” he says.

“During the past couple of years we have consistently blocked discriminating measures by the Netherlands. We have objected to the Bosman-law and the Reference Index Antilleans. But we have also fought very hard for more attention to fatherhood and for the acceptation of homosexuality among Antilleans.”

Helberg says that OCaN was not a matter of volunteer work for an hour or so every week. “It is an intensive side-job. This means that there are a lot of other things you are unable to do. It messes with your whole life.” He received a royal decoration for his efforts in 2013.

Helberg is not entirely satisfied about his own chairmanship. “Things go the way they go, but I would have wanted to achieve much more for our youngsters here in the Netherlands.” He wants that Caribbean Dutch youngsters start working together more with the older generation to bring about a transfer of know-how.

Because OCaN no longer receives state-subsidy, the organization has been forced to reorganize and to dismiss employees. “We are talking here about employees with an enormous large network and with a lot of know-how about the Antillean community in the Netherlands. They are worth their weight in gold. It is painful that you have to send away your own people, but it is also painful that we have to let go off people with an enormous baggage of expertise,” Helberg says.

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