photo: Esther Henry

ORANJESTAD – Over 50 marched in silence to an influx of Dutch policemen that came to the island in preparation of the Town Hall meeting Wednesday afternoon. The protest was made silent to lessen any confrontation between the Statians and armed forces, as the march would not be ‘seen’ as violent but ‘peaceful’.

The march was organized by the former local government, which stemmed from “the numerous requests received from the supporters and none supporters of the government to have an avenue to express their displeasure of the take by the Dutch government. Which has violated our democratic rights, they view the take over as vile, unjust and disrespectful towards us as a free people”, according to Rechelline Leerdam, PLP faction leader.

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By Esther Henry

Even though the intentions were to be silent, the crowd of protesters spontaneously broke out in song and started singing ‘We Shall Overcome’.

Psychologist Xiomara Balentina, and one of the founders of the Brighter Part Foundation for an autonomous Statia, said, “I felt very proud and pleased with the turnout of Statians, watching via a Facebook live stream. The regional and international media was missed as we are still a part of the Caribbean. This historic event would have been important with their coverages since there would have been many prospective and not biased.”

Media perspective
Urisha Blake, Statian student in the Netherlands, expresses: “I saw the march via Facebook. It was a simple yet effective way to protest. Looking from the media perspective in the Netherlands, there wasn’t much coverage on what persons felt about what was going on at that time. Based on the intervention happening so fast, there was not much time to organize and allow more supporters to participate. ‘People from Statia are happy that the Dutch are here’ was something a journalist said in the Netherlands.”

Urisha Blake talks about the media coverage of recent events at Statia

Linda Berkel Ships Agent St. Eustatius Port Services, didn’t participate: “The silent march was irrelevant as are the organizers of it. I imagined a smaller crowd but the amount that showed up exceeded my expectations.”

‘Long wait’
Berkel says she ‘couldn’t be more pleased with the new government as I was expecting them on 10-10-’10’. “This was a long eight year wait for the organ grinder. The only reason this didn’t happen earlier is that (former minister of Kingdom Relations) Plasterk got brought down into a pissing contest with Clyde van Putten, thereby clouding already turmoil political waters in Holland.”

Former local government
Berkel continued, “At the moment, I am just glad that the ‘far from my bed show’ is over. I am more than fed up with talking to Department Heads stationed in Bonaire who are powerless to change anything and a ceremonial Rijksvertegenwoordiger for all intents and purpose.”

Blake continues: “The local government before was crap. They did a lot of things that weren’t allowed and had poor reactions to the Dutch government; tensions. However, the Netherlands was too relaxed with an example of the finances. Instead of firing the government, have more supervision under the finances.”