Opinion: Country Status St. Maarten

POSTED: 02/23/15 12:49 AM

On 10-10-10 the people of Sint Maarten after a long process obtained the status of country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands for Sint Maarten. That was the choice made by the people of Sint Maarten from the available options during the referendum. The people were given the options to remain in the Netherlands Antilles (status quo), to become independent, or to become a public entity of the Netherlands. They choose to become a country within the Kingdom.

That meant that the people of Sint Maarten wanted to elect their own representatives to sit in parliament to enact laws to govern the country of Sint Maarten. It meant that they wanted people running the government of Sint Maarten who can count on the support of the majority of the members of its parliament. It meant that with the exception of foreign affairs, defense and nationality, the people wanted to be in charge and decide on everything else regarding Sint Maarten, without interference from other entities in the Kingdom. Having been part of the Netherlands Antilles for so long the people of Sint Maarten had enough of such interference in their affairs.

Recently the minister of the Netherlands for Kingdom Affairs on the subject of establishing an Integrity Chamber on Sint Maarten stated publicly that he does not trust our parliament and that it is not wise for Sint Maarten’s parliament to have the last word. These statements by the minister are quite curious. All over the world in every democracy the point of departure is “vox populi, vox deo”. In other words the voice of the people reigns supreme. Through the elected Members of Parliament the people speak and the people decide. The people voted for the Members of Parliament and by virtue of this they elected to trust the collective judgment of its parliament. Yes, there can be a rotten apple here or there in the barrel, but that does not give the right to anyone to brand the entire parliament as untrustworthy. Doing so would constitute an insult to the people who elected these parliamentarians.

Sint Maarten enjoys country status. That’s what the people voted for, that’s what the entire Kingdom voted for and the people’s choice should be respected. Attempts to undermine the country status of Sint Maarten treat it as if it is a public entity of the Netherlands, where the ministers in The Hague decide on everything, should be relentlessly resisted as long as the people of Sint Maarten in another referendum do not choose another status.

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