Opinion: Let the debate take place (Inclusion or exclusion of immigrants)

POSTED: 04/10/14 12:59 AM

Leopold James pushes for a debate about his favorite issue – the rights of indigenous St. Maarteners. Let the debate take place, he writes elsewhere on this page, so we take on the challenge and examine what James really has in mind.

After a rather predictable attack on the United People’s Party – without ever explicitly using its name – James gets down to business. There are too many immigrants and if nothing is done, bloodshed will be the result. It is an old message and so far, we have not seen any blood related to the immigration issue, though we are not saying that this could not happen. Repetition is the strength of commercial advertising, so maybe James is angling for a self-fulfilling prophecy here.

What stands out however is that James is a proponent of a split society – one for St. Maarteners and one for the rest.

Our newspaper has always defended the rights of locals in the job market. If there are two candidates that are equally qualified for a job, it ought to go to a St. Maartener. Such an approach makes sense.

What also makes sense – at least to us – is to opt for a policy of inclusion, rather than for James’ model of exclusion. It takes all kinds to make a world and it also takes all kinds to make St. Maarten into what it is today.

Nation building is about bringing people together for a common goal, not about dividing people and calling for bloodshed. That common goal is simple and it applies to all countries and all people. The founding fathers in the United States described it as the pursuit of happiness. More exact, it is about a roof over one’s head, food on the table and a companion and friends in life.

The United States is a country built by immigrants and St. Maarten’s model is not all that different. Get used to it and deal with excesses where this is necessary, but accept that immigrants are an integral part of our community.

Leopold James is perfectly entitled to his opinion – we just happen to disagree with certain aspects of it.

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