PHILIPSBURG – On the cusp of St. Maarten’s 10th anniversary as a country within the Dutch Kingdom, Pro Soualiga Foundation, recently filed an injunction against the Dutch state citing that the Kingdom Charter does not comply with international law. The foundation is championing the island’s rights to self-government and the need for further decolonization by the Netherlands.
The court summons challenges the implementation of the Caribbean Reform Entity, which is a condition placed by State Secretary Knops on St. Maarten for further liquidity support. The summons also demands that unconditional liquidity support is provided to the island.
The Kingdom Charter is the presiding legal document of the Dutch Kingdom. The constitution of the island is subordinate to the document. Based on the foundation’s findings, the first basis for the charter being inadmissible is that the United Nation never declared that the Dutch islands had a full measure of self-government, when the Kingdom Charter was first enacted in 1954. The Netherlands made it known that the islands were part of the Netherlands Antilles at the time and achieved full autonomy.
However, Renate Brison, Secretary of Pro Soualiga, says institutions like the proposed reform entity and the existing CFT debunk the idea that the island is autonomous. The CFT, in particular, was a condition St. Maarten agreed to in 2008 in order to achieve the new constitutional status on October 10 2010 (commonly referred to as 10-10-10). However, it has directed strict measures such as a yearly balanced budget, that the island has struggled to follow which led to the recommendation of instructions being handed to the island in a few cases. Brison says factors clearly show that the island was on a growth trajectory post, Irma. The Marlin government prior to Irma also had a balanced budget. “Try to be more diplomatic with the way you’re dealing with the islands at the moment. We didn’t cause COVID, we didn’t’ cause a tourist to leave.”
This is why the foundation joins several persons such as Member of Parliament Grisha Heyliger- Marten and is advocating that St. Maarten be placed on the UN’s non-self-governing list. The St. Maarten Parliament has also requested the Council of Advice to deliver its advice on completing the decolonization process for the island.
According to Article 73 of the United Nations declaration regarding non-self-governing territories, a nation that rules another territory is responsible for the development and advancement of that territory. This is the basis for the foundation’s case against the Dutch state. Brison also cited the UN’s Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism where all forms of colonialism must be eradicated by December 31 of this year. He mentioned that it’s not simply a matter of going independent but ensuring respect for the UN charter and St. Maarten’s political rights. The foundation is expecting a response from the Dutch state on October 13.