STRANGE BEDFELLOWS ON STATIA.
Sunday, 17 June 2012 19:33 SMN-NEWS TEAM
Politics makes strange bedfellows, they say and no stranger are those political relationships that are based on the failure to communicate.
I was therefore delighted that during a recent television broadcast on Statia, two former politicians invited the general public to come forward and voice their opinions and concerns. The subject of debate was the latest preposterous scheme to seek independent status from the UN.
I am not sure just how ex-commissioners Van Putten and Kerkhoff came upon this instant craving for public participation. Both have been rudely ejected from office. Whilst in power, neither had real consultation before signing into law that other ridiculous scheme – an unsightly oil terminal in the centre of the island.
No public referendum there. No apprehension or comprehension for a multitude of objections. So attracted were these NuStar-crossed lovers that dissenting voices from their own community were but a blip on the way to bliss.
And so the decision was signed off during a weekend fling while discharging offices. Hardly a scrap of documentation was left over to assist the incoming administration. How thoughtful and communicative? Love is blind…
It seems that this agreement was silently signed and dated by the two turtle doves. No coo, no boo! Such communicative skills and talents were absent then – as they are now.
Love conquers all
A similar sell-out in the name of democracy followed when the issue reached the passive floor of the Island Council. By then, Eros had deserted Golden Rock. Van Putten had bolted from the administrative mayhem that embraced his brother’s cows. This fraternal gift was also not subject to public discussion or approval.
Island council members discoursed and flirted with the romantic abstraction of an industrial wasteland in the heart of their Garden of Eden. How could Genesis be more complete with the mesmeric enchantment of the Serpent’s rhapsody? No matter that marchers and media had lined up alongside the voices of reason. No matter that international treaties would be torn asunder. No matter that the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure raised countless doubts and questions over the social, scientific and particularly safety consequences. Love conquers all.
The community on Statia is now divided. Some would still like to know why our new commissioners were ready to sign the building permit – without genuine consultation or a referendum.
Information is power and some questions will never be answered. Despite efforts to obtain various documents from the Executive Council via the BES law on Freedom of Information, lips defy express ion and filing cabinets withhold their secrets. Their silence is also communication…
So what is the ticket now? Let us unify the divided population through a common United Nations cause. Step forward the DP and the four other useless parties on Statia. This Machiavellian smokescreen could also work for St NuStar.
Fit of pique
But wait a moment! How did we get into this constitutional mess? Not through referendum but through a fit of pique by a former DP member visiting Curacao. The same DP that now seeks a more independent status. Did the DP even care about the people they represented? Do they care now?
A commission has thus been set up to promote the UN cause. So far this commission bears all the transparent contents of an oil storage tank. And therein lies the rub! Members of the commission are unknown. Their role and contribution are also unknown. It all rather smacks of Don Quixote tilting at Dutch windmills.
Whereas the Dutch Government has a lot to answer for in terms of financial custodian, political representation as we have seen, should be a two way street. And this is a pity. The island has a wealth of human talent and skills to shape a successful future. It just has to be put together and put across.
But local politicians are unable to promote the assets that the island has to offer. Despite flag waving at election time, their only focus is self interest not democracy. It is leadership that we miss, not bedfellows.