~ Requests response from Bar Association ~
PHILIPSBURG--United People’s (UP) party Member of Parliament (MP) Grisha Heyliger-Marten on Thursday characterised the statements of St. Maarten Bar Association Dean Geert Hatzmann as racist and bigoted. She called on the association to state its formal position on the statements.
Hatzmann recently said he was pleased that the Dutch government had passed a motion to seek to take over St. Maarten’s prison system (see related story).
“The fact that Mr. Hatzmann sees the people of St. Maarten as ‘little village people’ proves that he is part of the bigger problem,” said Heyliger-Marten.
She said she considers it a “direct insult to St. Maarten, its people, and those whom the people elected, that an attorney working and living on the island calls St. Maarten a ‘little village that plays like a country.’
“If you live on our island and have the audacity to call us hungry criminals who would have killed each other if the Dutch didn’t send food baskets and soldiers with guns to stop us from killing each other over it, then you are part of the problem.
“It is very unfortunate that people like Mr. Hatzmann tarnish the reputation of the Dutch population in general, including those in the Netherlands who have publicly spoken out and demonstrated against racism lately,” said Heyliger-Marten.
According to her, Hatzmann’s statements are historically biased.
“As a European Dutch national, Mr. Hatzmann should know it is his mother country, the Netherlands, who has a ‘jet-black history’ of pillage, genocide, suppression, slave trade, the betrayal of Jews, and other crimes too numerous to mention. …
“Mr. Hatzmann could have easily accessed the extensive academic research by legal scholars who actually know what they are talking about on the unfinished decolonisation of the Caribbean islands before making his reckless statements. …
“Mr. Hatzmann seems to put his biased trust in the ability of failed civil servants of a colonial, self-confessed institutionally racist narco-state that has admittedly lost the war against organised crime, an EU-designated tax haven, and a country where several ministers were forced to resign due to incompetence and immoral and lawless behaviour, to fix problems in St. Maarten.
“Because of this unfinished decolonisation, St. Maarten has been prevented from taking full advantage of its development potential and the options to directly access financial and other resources, from sources other than the Netherlands. …
“I will not sit back while certain Dutch colonial elements on the island or elsewhere try to ridicule St. Maarten and its people with racist and colonial remarks, and certainly not when they enjoy all that we have offered them over the years,” said Heyliger-Marten.