photo: Jorien Wuite

PHILIPSBURG – Jorien Wuite, former Minister Plenipotentiary and seasoned public servant, is making history as the first person from St. Martin to contest the upcoming Second Chamber elections in the Netherlands. What agenda does she support and what’s important to accomplish for the island itself? And what about the recovery after Irma and the future.

“There are polarizing movements in the world however the younger generation are part of an inspiring movement that brings hope.The tendencies to portray the Caribbean island as everything that is negative is very concerning which is a trend we need to change.”

She believes that could be done with the leadership D66 provides. Wuite is a candidate with the D66 and presently holds the number 19 slot on a list of 65 candidates.

‘ There’s still a lack of understanding in the Dutch educational system ‘

Wuite states there’s a lack of understanding also in the Dutch educational system and other vital sectors in relation to the islands in the Kingdom. She explains that democracy was only instituted in the form of voting rights in the 1950s and every island must endure their process and development.

The Netherlands must function as a true partner and avoid imposing one-sided pressure that forces the other party into demands, is her firm opinion. But also: “Caribbean islands downplay and don’t focus on the importance of Kingdom relations sufficiently, only when it’s necessary but not as a consistent effort.” She emphasizes the need for open and honest conversations and welcoms a round table conference to discuss the future of the Kingdom.

“Whether there will be a future of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the next 10 or 20 years remain to be seen.” She believes it’s up to the people to decide their shared vision of the Kingdom. Despite the difficulties the islands faced in the past 10 years she acknowledges that democracy is closer to home. Constant engagement and review of the process needs to be developed and enriched, Wuite remarks.

‘Institute Coho along with the World Bank would make matters potentially worse

Wuite concludes with her experience with the World Bank. At the time when she served as a Secretary-General, she was “not in favor” of the choice to use this multinational organization. She understands however that it was at a time when distrust among both parties (St. Martin and the Netherlands) was at an all-time high and the Netherlands is part of the international groups that support the World Bank.

However, the agency posed ‘complicating and delaying factors’. Wuite also says that the government changes on St. Martin were another setback that led to ‘crucial delays, inconsistencies and no shared idea of what the priority supposed to be’. She hopes for an increased response to the island’s social needs.

Wuite doesn’t comment much on the Caribbean reform entity (Coho) as negotiations between the Netherlands and St. Martin are ongoing. But she says that to institute Coho along with the World Bank ‘would make matters potentially worse’. She believes parties should ensure fair outcomes and reduce the animosity created in the past.