THE HAGUE--“A blatant lack of respect” is how Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP) qualified the bold statements by some members of the St. Maarten Parliament in reference to State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relation Raymond Knops.
Van Raak said it was not only disrespectful, but also unbecoming for a Member of Parliament (MP) to use the type of language and the poor choice of words that some of his St. Maarten colleagues expressed on the floor of Parliament on Monday during a meeting about the conditions and ongoing negotiations to receive Dutch liquidity support.
Independent MP Christophe Emmanuel and Claudius “Toontje” Buncamper of the United St. Maarten Party (US Party), respectively, referred to Knops as a “Hitler-thinking individual” and a “little Napoleon without a sense of direction.” MP Grisha Heyliger-Marten of the United People’s (UP) party used the phrase “plata o plomo” (silver or lead) of Pablo Escobar to describe what she called “gangster-style negotiations.”
“It should have become clear to the people in St. Maarten by now that working together with these politicians is just not possible. It is painful to see that the assistance that the Netherlands has offered to help our fellow kingdom citizens in St. Maarten is becoming impossible in this manner,” Van Raak said.
Van Raak on Tuesday submitted written questions to State Secretary Knops about the comparisons that the St. Maarten MPs made between him and Escobar, Hitler and Napoleon. He based his questions on an article that appeared in The Daily Herald on Tuesday with the headline “Majority of MPs lend support to Dutch financing agreement.”
“What is your opinion about the comparison that St. Maarten MPs made between you and the violent Colombian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar, French dictator Napoleon Bonaparte and leader of Nazi-Germany Adolf Hitler?”
Seeing the use of these forceful qualifications, Van Raak asked the state secretary whether he still had confidence that St. Maarten was willing to work with him while the Netherlands provided millions in financial aid to the island.
“Do you share my concerns that these words to you will be the start of a process of frustrating politicians’ efforts to give the help that the Netherlands so eagerly wants to provide for the people on the islands?”