Dutch State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops told the Second Chamber of Parliament in the Netherlands he was not inclined to intervene in St. Maarten due to the recent political crisis and possible consequences. He rightly reasoned that the kingdom guarantee function should only be applied under exceptional circumstances and with great restraint, as it regards an autonomous country and in view of the right of self-determination.

At the same time, Knops called stability in government an “indispensable pre-requisite” to tackle challenges facing the island and especially those created by Hurricane Irma. And while the state secretary does not consider the latest developments a “severe and acute threat” to the democratic constitutional state, he finds the present situation “precarious.”

Knops still favours cooperation with the local government over interference from The Hague, but added “only if circumstances allow it.” The latter is a clear indication of growing concern about the intentions of the new NA/US Party/Mercelina/Brownbill coalition.

It must be said, Tuesday’s Parliament meeting in Philipsburg about the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT seemed a bit lower on rhetoric than has been the case of late. For example, nobody called for an immediate boycott of the budgetary oversight body, but rather suggested evaluating its role and structure as well as the underlying Kingdom Consensus Law.

It's no secret that the current majority has different ideas about several aspects of the reconstruction effort with use of Dutch funding. However, existing related agreements and commitments will obviously need to be honoured and this was actually one of the tasks Governor Eugene Holiday gave the interim cabinet being formed by NA leader Silveria Jacobs that will take office until the next Parliament to be elected on January 9 is installed per February 10.

Drastic changes in that sense therefore do not seem likely before then, also considering the transitional nature of this incoming government. Important is for all involved to stay calm and avoid heightened antagonism that will ultimately just make things worse for the people, who have been through so much already and truly deserve better.

It’s the tone that sets the music.