Today’s Editorial: Joint futures

POSTED: 07/18/11 11:51 AM

Even as St. Maarten makes it clear that it cannot wait for the five year evaluation period for the constitutional changes that took effect on October 10, 2010 to happen, the Dutch Government has delivered its vision on the Kingdom. It is a vision which stresses the need for beneficial interconnectedness, but yields to the reality that not all parties are ready to cooperate on all things. It even talks about breaking up the Kingdom if no common ground can be found.

What we note with interest is that the Netherlands is not interested in playing police officer and trying to control the islands. Rather it looks to them as a partner in providing healthcare, stable transportation and energy for the people of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. Albeit this is not new turf for St. Maarten because the stories abound about people from St. Eustatius and Saba who seek medical care at the St. Maarten Medical Center and St. Maarten is the transit point for both islands. The three also share a utility company.

Beyond those things, and very important, is the family relationships that exist and binds people together in an intangible way  that is recognized when the Dutch government says there must be common goals. For without those common goals there is no hope.

We note with interest that the Dutch government also addresses the question of independence and gently puts it aside because they see continued hope for walking into the future together as partners with the remaining countries and territories it has.

To some the vision will read like nice philosophy. To us it is a negotiation point that can be used, especially when we match our vision on the kingdom with theirs and discuss yet again the delineation of responsibilities and the concrete meaning of our autonomy.

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