Because the Kingdom Council of Ministers is set to decide this Friday on continued post- Hurricane Irma assistance and to set requirements for such, St. Maarten would do well to come up with a strategy to address the issue before then. The National Recovery Plan (NRP) workgroup could perhaps provide at least a provisional report so that a presentation can be made to provide some input from the island.
If at all still possible, one or more of the committee members ought to even travel to The Hague – via Curaçao – post-haste for this purpose, preferably as part of a small delegation that might also include the Prime Minister, President of Parliament and – why not? – the Governor. Although the local Government has rejected two conditions placed by the Dutch regarding the Integrity Chamber and border control, this is no reason to stop talking under the dire circumstances much of the population faces.
While caretaker Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Minister Ronald Plasterk currently calls the shots, his PvdA party is not part of the new coalition just formed in the Netherlands. However, Prime Minister Mark Rutte is likely to remain in office and must somehow be involved more in the discussions.
The people who are still suffering greatly from what is recognised internationally as an extremely catastrophic natural disaster are in no way to blame for their predicament. Holding them hostage by delaying badly-needed aid because of a political dispute is therefore inhuman and simply unacceptable.
Both sides need to quickly re-examine their consciences and realise that any battle between them will be at enormous cost to most of the population who will have a hard time surviving without the necessary help. Have a heart!