The law initiative of Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament André Bosman (VVD) to regulate the registration of people from Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten was the source of a heated debate in Amsterdam on Tuesday. This reports The Daily Herald. Initiative-taker Bosman and Consultative Body for Dutch Caribbean people in the Netherlands OCAN Chairman Glenn Helberg had been invited to come to De Balie, in Amsterdam, as part of the “Devilish Dilemmas” series of the HUMAN broadcasting organisation that focuses on people having to make a choice between two evils. The theme of the debate was the islands’ colonial past and its effects on the people to this day, the migration to the Netherlands and the future prospects on the islands. This was the first time Bosman and Helberg had debated publicly the law proposal currently being handled in the Second Chamber.
Bosman, qualified by moderator Kees Vlaanderen as possibly the “most controversial politician on the islands,” defended his law proposal which, he stressed, would not serve to prevent the entry of people from the Dutch Caribbean in the Netherlands, but merely restrict the registration of deprived, poorly educated people from the islands. Helberg vehemently objected to the law proposal which, in his opinion, incites racial profiling and discrimination. He said that instead of implementing such a law, the Dutch government should do something about the racial profiling of and discrimination against Dutch Caribbean persons in Dutch society. Explaining the motivation behind his initiative law, Bosman said the law was about people’s futures and the opportunities they had to make something of themselves in the Netherlands – not about people’s ethnic backgrounds or skin colours. He said he found it “too bad” that Helberg “generalised” the issue.
Helberg’s suggestion to solve the issue of movement of persons in the Kingdom jointly with all partners in the Kingdom resulted in applause from the audience, but Bosman said this was a dead-end road, as the overseas partners had blocked every initiative to discuss a mutual arrangement to regulate the movement of persons within the Kingdom. According to Helberg, people have a right to come to the Netherlands to try to build a new and better life. “People will keep trying. You can’t prevent that. Everyone has the right to development,” he said, stressing that it was important to work on improving the position and opportunities of people on both sides of the ocean.
Bosman and Helberg disagreed about everything except that they both want the governments on the islands to tackle poverty and improve the future prospects of the people. Helberg said his organisation had brought forward the message of the importance of tackling poverty many times in discussions with island government representatives. The Member of Parliament said it was a responsibility of the islands to eradicate poverty and invest in their people. He said the island governments should have the ambition to improve their countries. If things are better on the islands, the people do not feel the urge to migrate to the Netherlands, he said.
The third guest of the debate, theatre producer Archell Thompson, remained calm during the discussion and flashed an occasional grin. Thompson, a former drug dealer from Curaçao, told the story of his life and his efforts to inspire others to better their lives. He wants to achieve this through making movies and theatre productions. At the end of the evening, the audience was treated to the first public showing of the movie “Mi Kulpa” (My Fault), produced as part of HUMAN’s Devilish Dilemmas series. The short movie, produced and directed by Shariff Korver and filmed entirely in Curaçao, tells the story of Miguel (20) and his family, who struggle to survive in the poor neighbourhood of Seru Fortuna. When the family’s home goes up in flames and his mother needs an operation in Colombia or Venezuela for her extensive burns, Miguel is faced with the dilemma of whether to become involved in crime so he can pay for his mother’s operation and rebuild their home or to remain honest and not be able to help his family. Curaçao-born actor Anton de Bies plays an excellent role as Miguel. Other roles in the movie, which will be shown on Dutch TV this Friday, are played by Diannitsa Genaro, Aldaïr Pieters, Tanisha Martis, Devonn Francisca, Germain Pieternella, Aldemar Pieters, Heinrich Pieter, Roxianne Alberto and Maarten van Zadelhoff.