Opinion: Community hotline

POSTED: 02/27/12 3:59 PM

What a wonderful country we live in. On the day our relentless patriot Miguel Arrindell sent us a letter warning that the island will be overrun soon by Dominicans (though we suspect he may have meant Dominicanos), Jamaicans, Haitians and Guyanese ready to wave their Dutch passport in his face demanding that he takes a hike, Dominicanos actually marched through the streets of Philipsburg celebrating the 168th anniversary of their country’s independence.

Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams congratulated the Dominicanos in a press statement, among others by encouraging them “to join us in making St. Maarten a country we can all be proud of.”

That’s a clear message of inclusion. In the multicultural society that St. Maarten has become over the years, the odd complaint about foreigners is not surprising. Where Arrindell seems to think that all those Haitians, Jamaicans, Dominicanos and Guyanese have only one thing on their mind – the extinction of the indigenous St. Maartener – the reality is a tad different.

Unlike Arrindell wants us to believe, it is a practical impossibility to unite a group of people politically based on their ethnic origins. Not all Jamaicans have the same opinion and the same can be said of all other ethnic groups.

We live in a free society, a constitutional democracy where freedom of opinion is highly valued. That freedom gives our patriot the space to voice his opinion. But here is the question: Jamaicans, Dominicanos, Haitians, Guyanese (and Dutch, for that matter) all have the same freedom.

So far, this newspaper has not received a single letter from a member of any of these ethnic groups stating patriot-style that the days of the indigenous St. Maarteners are numbered. No one has ever claimed, or even attempted, to channel the energy of ethnic groups into political power geared towards the annihilation of the people Arrindell claims to stand up for.

Why is this? Well, most of these people are actually working and they have better things to do than creating a negative atmosphere. Their concerns are about food on the table, a roof over their heads, and concerns for their families at home.

That these ethnic groups could one day stand up and form a political bloc so powerful that it would be capable of driving one minority group to extinction is a thought we find rather ridiculous.

The extreme rightwing Freedom Party in the Netherlands has set up a much criticized internet hotline where people are able to file complaints about eastern European immigrants. As ridiculous as this is, it says of course more about the mindset of Geert Wilders and his gang than it does about people from Poland and other former eastern bloc countries.

Now that Vice Prime Minister Theo Heyliger has called on residents to get involved in their communities and now that Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams has so warmly embraced foreign communities in her congratulatory message to the Dominicano community, we think it’s time to set up a hotline for foreigners of our own. Unlike Wilders, we’d like to use this hotline to get information about all those foreigners – no matter where they are from – who contribute to our multicultural society and who may play a role as examples of peaceful coexistence between (indigenous) locals and the foreigners Arrindell seems to fear so much.

Email us with suggestions at: todaymanagersxm@yahoo.com

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