photo: John Samson

THE HAGUE – The Netherlands plans to file criminal charges against St. Eustatius Island Councilman Clyde van Putten, says Deputy Minister Ronald Plasterk (Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations). The Island Councilman said that ‘they’ will ‘murder and burn’ the Dutch military in the streets of St. Eustatius.

The Second Chamber parliamentarians reacted with disbelief and posed questions in the chamber about this supposed ‘threat’ towards the Dutch militaries.

Councliman Clyde van Putten (PLP)

“I told this to the Minister (Plasterk) with my finger pointing in front of his nose,” Van Putten said, referring to an interaction during a conference held on autonomy and independence of the Curaçao press group KFO on Monday. However according to Plasterk this did not happen.

Several islanders in the Dutch Kingdom expressed during that conference their dissatisfaction with the way the Netherlands deals with the islands. However according to the Second Chamber, Van Putten ‘really crossed the line’.

“It has been reported, because this cannot be tolerated,” Plasterk reacted irritably after the Council of Ministers meeting. The governor says, “not to do any business with that man”. “As far as I’m concerned the only persons who have to deal with this man are the Public Prosecutor and the Police.”

Chamber questions
“We are used to comments from Mr. Van Putten, but now he really went overboard,” said Ronald Van Raak (SP). “This is a threat of violence, to want to murder and burn people.” On behalf of the SP Van Raak submitted questions in the chamber directed to the Minister of Defense Plasterk.

The VVD is also furious and supports the questions posed by the SP. “It is really a shame, that we do not get along with each other. These are instigators who only think of themselves and think they can use tough language against the Dutch,” commented André Bosman. “I think that a charge needs to be made. The marines are only doing their job.”

How safe is the military?
SP wants to know if there are any indications that the marines are not safe on the island. SP questions included: ‘Do you share the concerns of those Statians that are happy with the support of the European Netherlands? Can you reassure those nationals that the government will not get blackmailed by local politicians who threaten with violence?’

“This is call for violence against the Dutch marines who have been helping with post hurricane repairs and other things,” said Plasterk. “I don’t even want to say what I think about it.”