Friday , July 1 2022

Opinion: Do we have our priorities straight?

Statia News has published the following contribution from Mr. Koos Sneek, President DP Statia. It focusses on issues that also are being discussed on Saba.

Dear Editor,

There is a continuing discussion steered up by organizations such as Brighter Path Foundation, the Pro Statia movement and most political parties on the constitutional status of Statia. These organizations and the people who represent them do all in their power to convince the people of the wrong choice that in their opinion has been made when in 2010 the island has opted for the status of public entity. They try to make us believe that by holding a referendum and choosing another status our problems will go away instantly and we will live happily ever after. They try to make us believe that simply by increasing our autonomy the life of our people will improve. It seems they fail to see that even in the present status, with just limited responsibilities, we are unable ourselves to take care of fixing our own streets, looking after our Statia students studying abroad or simply repairing a wall around our cemetery.

All energy of these often educated individuals, who studied and lived for many years in The Netherlands, is geared at setting up our people against the present status and the same Netherlands that they benefitted from all those years. As a matter of fact some of them are still living outside of Statia and refuse to share our plight. But still they are trying to influence our choice for a status of our island that they do not even want to be a part of.

In the meantime the island is going through a difficult stage where urgent solutions are required to solve matters such as purchasing power, poverty alleviation, backlogs in infrastructure, jobs and economic development. No solutions are offered by these political parties and activist groups to remedy these areas. And when you really listen to the people on the island, these are the real matters that are of their concern.

In the last CN week a first draft Multi Annual Plan for the Dutch Caribbean has been discussed. It is kind of peculiar, to say the least, that the contents of this document have not been shared with the public as yet, in order to show that a serious attempt is being made to address the difficulties of the islands and to improve the level of services for our people. This is a plan that has been initiated by the government in The Hague in which, with the island governments, a combined attempt is being made to identify the bottlenecks and improve the situation. It also documents the acknowledgement by the Dutch government of mistakes and shortcomings of the present status. It clearly acknowledges the disparity in taking away backlogs in areas that are the responsibility of The Hague and those that are the responsibility of the local governments. It thereby acknowledges the lack of financial means of the island governments and that measures need to be taken to improve this as well as the human capacity to carry out their respective responsibilities.

Instead of embracing such an initiative, most of our political representatives and activist groups are trying to force through an ill prepared referendum , which they plan to hold in November, only three months from now, for which the options still are not clear, no extensive information campaign has been started and no financial means or expertise are available.

They call the Dutch government colonial, because they mingle in our affairs and claim they took away our autonomy.

A recent press release by the political party PHU from Bonaire states that it is sometimes difficult to have a big brother, who sees it as his responsibility to tell us what might be good for us. However when he will no longer be there to help us we will dearly miss him. Those people that call for independence and freedom are the ones who will throw us in the abyss. The safest way is to continue with the present status and improve our situation.

Let’s take this statement at heart. You do not need to love the Dutch for that. You simply need to love yourself and have the future of Statia at heart.

Koos Sneek, President DP Statia

August 6th 2014

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