It is now almost two years since Hurricane Irma brought us to our knees, with such devastating and destructive power, that it will remain in St. Maarten’s history as the most terrible hurricane so far. I know most of us would not want to face another monster hurricane like Irma again. The thought of another hurricane like Irma alone would be enough to move your bowels.
Since that time up to the present, as we look around this island, we can see that there is still more to done to get us back on track. For instance, when driving around this island our roundabouts are in need of dire care and restoration as most trees once planted have dried up, some yachts are still drifting in the waters like monuments of a past disaster, many people are still without a home, some waiting for repairs, but most important for our economy, our airport is still in need of complete repair.
Yes, back-and-forth talk and dialogue has been going on, but much is being said, but little done. As we know it now boils down to the fact that the Dutch have promised financial support, but they are not going to play “Father Christmas”. Nothing will be given for free. It’s like saying: “You will receive, but you have to first bow to our request and demands or you wouldn’t get a red cent!” “You need what we have in abundance...”
So as it seems, dear editor, the Dutch are playing their rhythm, and we have no other choice but to dance to their tunes. Yes, the Dutch may be using, the destruction of Hurricane Irma as a good opportunity to humble us, and show us who is really the big boss. Since Hurricane Irma in 2017, we are now already again in another hurricane season, and God forbid that we get another blow at this time as we have not yet even fully resolved all the pending problems Hurricane Irma brought to this island.
During one of our parliament meetings some time ago, our Prime Minister was accused by a member of parliament that she was giving in too much to the demands or requests of the Dutch. Yes, the Europeans used their wealth, wisdom, and power to enslave our forefathers of this island, and we would want to seek total freedom or independence from the now psychological enslavement our generation today is facing. But dear editor, the old people have a saying: “Dog does need he tail more than once.”
Should another hurricane or disaster, God forbid, trike this island again, then who can we run to for help, or which country can we count on to receive direct help? Whose obligation it would be to render their first-hand service and aid to our little helpless island St. Maarten? Can we run to the US, Russia, China, England, Africa, France, (Oh, yes the French side can do that), or any of the smaller Caribbean islands who, in times of disaster, can’t even help themselves?
Now I am not saying that we should accept anything the Dutch throw at us, but we are still part of the Dutch Kingdom, so we must expect them, even before any other nation, to do a much greater part in helping us. Hurricane Irma was the first of its kind, but it will not be the last. And let us bear in mind that it need not necessary be another monster hurricane again. Disaster can strike in any other form, especially observing the times we are living in.
Dear editor, St. Maarten seems to be at a crossroad. We may not like the psychological colonial rule of the Dutch, but with not much other options in mind, I believe we will have to sacrifice our pride, because we will be dealing with the Dutch Kingdom for yet a long time more to come. Yes, independence may be sweet, but we are still far off from proving to the Dutch, and ourselves, that we can handle matters on our own. So, the Dutch will continue to play their tune, not leaving much options for us on the table but to dance.
Name withheld at author's request.