Opinion: Unique specificityPOSTED: 10/22/15 12:40 PM
Let it hereby be officially recorded, that the St. Martin Grassroots People Movement fully endorses the initiative to have the so-called PLU (The Plan Local d’Urbanisme – ‘Zoning Plan) completely- and immediately suspended until further notice.
Let it also be recorded, that those in charge of coordinating the protest-actions against the implementation of the PLU – can count on our movement supporting- and complementing them wherever- and whenever possible in any way most fitting to our movement’s ability- and principles.
In that sense, this letter is intended to complement the statements made thus far by many persons in our community against having the PLU implemented on St. Martin.
To understand this broader context – let it be duly recorded, that the motive for us many years ago, to officially establish the St. Martin Grassroots People Movement – both on the Dutch- as well as on the French side – was to represent all native, indigenous St. Martiners on both sides of the island, regardless of nationality, race, or creed.
This was based on the realization and awareness that the native St. Martin people are one people, indivisible by blood, succession land, language etc. and that this oneness was our strength and key to the very survival of us, as a people.
In other words, our people share a traditional way of life since the abolishment of slavery in 1848.
This traditional way of life for some 360 years, in fact is the embodiment of the Treaty of Concordia and de facto has become common- or unwritten law, which makes it an undeniable legal reality for the native-indigenous St. Martiners.
Like people in many colonized countries – St. Martiners too – over the centuries, have been subjected to a variety of colonial powers – most recently the French- and the Dutch.
Consequently, there are St. Martiners who hold the French-, or the Dutch nationalities, while many hold dual French and Dutch nationalities.
This and many other conditions, have given our island and its native people a very unique specificity, which must be taken into consideration in its general development, if there is to be peace, tranquility and sustainable development.
It should be very clear, that any development that does not take the specificity of this island- and of its native population into consideration, is a crime against the St. Martin humanity, absolutely doomed to fail and to cause very serious socio-economic consequences on the island.
Unfortunately there are so many developments that have completely neglected this critical specificity of the island, with dire consequences.
Some in fact as a conspiracy against the native-indigenous St. Martin people – others perhaps out of pure ignorance- and incompetence.
The PLU on the Northern side is clearly one that has not taken the island’s and its people’s specificity into consideration, but so is also the so-called NDP (The National Development Plan for St. Maarten) on the Southern side of the island.
Both, are therefore anti-St. Martin people and eventually doomed to fail, because both neglect to recognize the premise that St. Martin people are one, indivisible people, regardless nationalities.
In addition, both are doomed to fail, because they neglect to recognize that there is only one physical St. Martin as well – for the simple reason that there are no physical borders between the two and because, that whatever effects one side, affects the other side.
Both are doomed to fail, because they are based on promoting population-increase at the expense of the survival of the native-indigenous St. Martin people, while most St. Martiners believe the time has come for a massive population decrease, because the island’s carrying capacity has long been over extended.
Not only are both concepts doomed to fail – but their failures will result in serious social- confrontations- and in an socio-economic impact on many regional islands, whose economy heavily depend on that of our island and on the typical ‘friendliness’ and hospitality of the St. Martin people, as opposed to others on the island.
It cannot be denied that the only people –regardless of their population-size – who can form the core, the bridge, the foundation, the true hope for any sustainable, peaceful development on this island are the native, indigenous St. Martiners themselves.
Without that being the case – all developments will fail- and lead to social confrontations.
It is in particular the lack of this conditio sine qua non – that our movement strongly supports the initiatives and protests against the PLU.
The PLU comes across as simply a colonial device, aimed at ultimately wiping out the native St. Martin people through genocide by substitution.
Consequently – just like the NDP – the PLU in fact, pulls away the very supporting foundation for peace, tranquility, general sustainable development- unification and nation building on this island.
That is unacceptable.
Our movement therefore strongly proposes that a group of qualified native St. Martiners structurally becomes part of every negotiation- and planning pertaining to concept- projects, developments on either side of the island that will directly- and/or indirectly influence the very existence of the native, indigenous St. Martiners in way or the other.
There are more than enough St. Martiners, qualified in various disciplines, with a good track-record and credibility, who would be more than willing to give back- and to help take the development of their country to the next level.
In ending-, we also recommend that institutions like the UN, Caricom, the US State-department send observers to take notice of what is happening on this island, because of its very strategic location and of the potential consequences in the region.
We wish the organizers of the actions against the PLU much success and also invite our brothers and sisters on the Southern part of the island to support this very important initiative, because it is about whether, or not our people and future generation will be able to survive in our country as a people and not as some endangered species, or worse yet as some extinct species – like the Amer-Indians before us.
Drs. Leopold James
President St. Martin Grassroots People Movement