photo: Elisa Koek

ORANJESTAD – It was decided in a recent Island Council meeting on St. Eustatius to stop the ongoing debate on the comments of Island Councilman Clyde van Putten about the Dutch military. Majority of the coalition members voted on this agenda point Thursday.

During a conference early this month Island Councilman Clyde van Putten (PLP) said that they would ‘kill and burn Dutch military in the streets of St. Eustatius’. The PLP and independent member Merkman is of the opinion that the Island Council should not debate a possible legal issue while a preliminary investigation is under way.

The Public Prosecutor in Willemstad have received an official complaint from Minister Ronald Plasterk (Internal Affairs and Kingdom Relations), but has not decided or not to prosecute Van Putten.

An apology is enough
Independent member Reuben Merkman publicly distanced himself last week from the comments of his coalition partner. He called the remarks ‘unacceptable’ and demanded an apology. Van Putten did so this week on a local radio program. With this the coalition brings the commotion to an end. There was no objection to this decision.

The motion of the opposition party to denounce the comments on killing and burning Dutch military on behalf of the entire Island Government of St. Eustatius was not successful. The coalition party PLP and Merkman also voted against it.

Chapter not yet closed
Majority of Statian citizens believe the chapter on Van Putten’s threats to Dutch military is not yet closed. However an official complaint was filed by the Dutch government at the prosecutor’s office. What transpires with this complaint depends on the Prosecutor in Curaçao.