Please allow me some space in your newspaper to address the chairman of the house of parliament, the honourable Lloyd Richardson and the honourable members of parliament of country Sint Maarten.
Ladies and gentlemen, please permit me to draw your kind attention to the following problem taking place here on this lovely twin island of St. Martin we all love to call home – home to the Dutch national as well as home to the French national, going back to the Concordia treaty. When emancipation came to the north, those slaves from the south shed their chains and ran across the border to the French side where they embraced freedom.
Some years later, the movement reversed. Abandoned by the French colonial powers of the day and left to fend for ourselves, the French subjects ran back to the Dutch side to survive at the cost of sometimes having to give up their French nationality and the name given to them by their French slave masters, in order to go to Curaçao to work for SHELL, or to Aruba to work for LAGO.
We say thank God for those days, so you see St Martiners have always been true to Dutch St. Maarten or French Saint Martin. Whether Dutch or French, to us was secondary; you are a St. Martiner first.
When tourism smiled on St. Martin in the early sixties, it was Great Bay that led the way,
and people came from French Quarter, from St. James, from Rambaud, Saint Louis, Freetown Grand Case, French Cul-de-Sac (CULSAC LAVIER) and Colombier to work in Great Bay , Little Bay, Maho and Mullet Bay; so from picking salt to luxurious hotels. That is wee St. Martin story.
So today, it is very sad for us to realise after working together for so many years, that we cannot benefit from the same pension, because of a law that was made up in Curaçao.
Mister Chair and you honourable MPs, today, that you have taken the destiny of your country in hand, it is time to right this wrong that has been done to your brothers, your sisters, your aunts and your uncles. And correct the injustice that we have suffered (please refer to my open letter to the honourable prime minister for and on behalf of the former workers, now retirees from the northern side.)
Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite