St. Maarten Parliamentarians Call for Independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Joseph H. Lake, Jr, president, Independence for St Martin Foundation (ISMF). (File Photo)

Joseph H. Lake, Jr, president, Independence for St Martin Foundation (ISMF). (File Photo)

GREAT BAY, St Martin — A majority of St. Maarten parliamentarians present at the reconvened meeting of the Central Committee of Parliament held on Friday, September 2, 2016, with a delegation of the Independence for St. Martin Foundation, expressed support for the foundation’s call for a referendum to be held so that the people of the territory could have their say on the issue of independence.

President of the ISMF, Jose Lake, Jr., made the case for a referendum to be called on the issue of independence and urged the Members of Parliament to act swiftly to make this happen within the next year.

Dr. Rhoda Arrindell, secretary of the foundation, addressed the issue of placing St. Maarten back on the United Nations list of non-self-governing territories. She said when the territory was removed from the list by the Netherlands in 1954 the people of the island were not consulted.

Arrindell further elaborated on why such reinstatement would not be a step backwards as some had argued, pointing out that the “autonomy of St. Maarten” is a myth as the territory is still a colony that does not have control over the appointment of the governor, nor over constitutional matters, which still require the approval of the Dutch Kingdom government.

Arrindell added that in both judicial and financial matters, the last word remained with the Kingdom government.

“What autonomy are we talking about?” she asked rhetorically.

She then proceeded to answer the questions posed by the MPs during the May 18 meeting.

Placing the territory back on the United Nations list would secure international support for the island’s quest, Arrindell said. She added that St. Eustatius and Bonaire are also seeking the same thing, having taken their case to the Association of Caribbean States heads of state meeting and to the U.N.

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