United we stand
The BES-islands have to band together in the constitutional negotiations with Holland. Not because Holland is the ‘enemy’, as for 50 years our politicians have told us. But simply because negotiations are negotiations. If the BES-islands do not co-operate and co-ordinate well, they will lose out unnecessarily.
But our politics is always local and local only. To get politicians of the 3 islands to sit together and discuss issues at length to get to the bottom of things, is well-nigh impossible. They all have their constituents and daily problems to worry about, so they do not take time to think things through properly. However, these talks have priority! If we do not make the right decisions now, we WILL regret it later.
Economy not autonomy!
ARCO has tried hard to make Saban and Statian politicians see that our goal should be equality for the people within Holland, but they don’t seem to get it. They fear Holland will meddle too much and that they will lose too much autonomy. They forget that this is not about them. This is about the people! It is all very nice for our politicians to have lots of autonomy, but the people need economy, not auto-nomy! The people need well-paid jobs. To hell with autonomy for our politicans!
Statia’s politicians say they want equality for the people, but at the same they don’t want integration into Holland. But you can’t have your cake and eat it. Statia is in no situation to take this kind of attitude. What do you want? You want to go back to the Antilles? Wake up, man! The Antilles didn’t want Statia!
Way forward is Holland
Our way forward is with Holland. If you understand that, then do it whole-heartedly! Accept integration. Then you can achieve equality. You can insist on auto-
nomy, but then Holland will not be responsible. For government services and socio-economic rights you will be on your own then. Forget equality within Holland then!
Equality for the people!
So let’s go for Holland! But then we must insist on equality for the people! Because Holland can’t have its cake and eat it either. Either Holland accepts us as equal citizens, or no deal! Therefore, to achieve equality Statia will have to accept integration into Holland. Just as in the past Statia formed part of the Antilles and was entitled to a socio-economic level equal within the Antilles, so in future we will form part of Holland and be entitled to a socio-econmic level equal within Holland. Not ‘acceptable’, but ‘equal’.
Saba’s politicians are more logical. They say openly at least that they do not need equality. They will settle for second class citizenship for their people, in order to maintain autonomy. They are sacrificing the people for their own autonomous privi-
leges, but at least they openly say so.
Divided we fall
It will be clear that these 3 differing viewpoints on Bonaire, Saba & Statia are not a very intelligent move on our part. Divided we fall! ARCO will continue to explain and try to make our politicians see that they must make choices that are good for the people. It’s not about them!