Opinion: Predictable mantra

POSTED: 10/6/15 10:14 PM

In what has become a predictable mantra, Socialist Party MP Ronald van Raak uses the occasion of the approaching five-year existence of the autonomous countries St. Maarten and Curacao to vent his opinions about criminality and corruption on the islands.

We have never claimed that there is no corruption here, but we challenge Van Raak to come up with evidence. But all he does, again in his latest column on the Post Online, is rehashing his favorite subject – how the underworld has the islands in its grip.

Maybe Van Raak ought to read the thesis of Jacqueline Bos who graduated at the Open University in Maastricht on a study into corruption in the Netherlands and Germany.

That thesis – a thorough piece of work running almost 350 pages – gives a candid insight in the way the Netherlands deals with corruption at home. Earlier it has already been established that the Dutch, including their leading newspapers, consider corruption as something that happens abroad. In the Netherlands, it’s called fraud.

While we applaud Van Raak for his initiative to establish a House of Whistleblowers, legislation to protect whistleblowers, we note with Jacqueline Bos that this initiative is going nowhere. Dutch politicians are too busy with what others do wrong to get their own house in order.

It is rather odd that Van Raak, who previously wrote about “illegal prostitution” in St. Maarten, now has switched to “the illegal gambling industry.” Prostitution was condoned in the Netherlands for decades and nobody ever called it illegal for that reason. The same is true for St. Maarten, so why would it be illegal here?

And then the gambling industry. If businesses are established legally they can of course not be illegal, but Van Raak likes to throw these labels around to put some juice in his columns.

Now we read that, according to Van Raak, the underworld has colonized the islands. Interesting choice of words.

Van Raak also puts some honey in between the vinegar: the island is beautiful the people who live here are beautiful. Visitors quickly fall in love with the colorful culture and the friendly people. And more of the same. “Many people live in deep poverty while many foreigners enjoy their tax-free wealth.”

Wow, we seem to remember that St. Maarten asked for assistance to strengthen the tax inspectorate (yes, we know we have a problem in that field) and that the Netherlands refused to help.

Van Raak’s rhetoric probably plays well at home, but it does nothing to help the islands. That’s a pity.

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