The interview, held in Dutch, can be listened to here.
On Monday the 26th of February, Francio Guadeloupe, principal investigator in this research project, was invited to the Dutch radio program 'Spraakmakers'. In the interview he shared his thoughts about the snap elections, the economic situation after hurricane Irma and the state of education on Sint Maarten.
The interview, held in Dutch, can be listened to here.
Op 8 februari verscheen er in de Volkskrant een bijdrage van onze onderzoeksgroep aan het publieke debat rondom de politieke en ecologische situatie op zowel Sint Eustatius als Sint Maarten. In het stuk doen Francio Guadeloupe, Jordi Halfman en Nicole Sanches een oproep tot samenwerking en gelijkwaardigheid bij het blussen van de felle branden die momenteel woeden in het Koninkrijk.
Als je huis in brand staat, ga je niet discussiëren over wie blaam treft of hoe dit kon gebeuren. Dat zijn zorgen voor later. Je houdt je allereerst bezig met het beperken van de schade en daarna blus je zo snel mogelijk de brand.
Lees hier het volledige artikel.
Work together and develop an equal Kingdom
When your house is on fire you do not fight about who is to blame or how the fire may have started. Before you do anything else, you try to minimize the damage and then you try to extinguish the fire.
Burning houses. That seems the best way to describe the current situation on Sint Eustatius (Statia) and Sint Maarten: Caribbean parts of our Kingdom. The Statian government has been sent home by Secretary of State Knops. According to the Dutch government, this is due to an administrative culture best characterized as lawless and severe financial mismanagement. Politicians on sister island Sint Maarten are similarly accused of corruption and bribery by the Mafia, not only by other politicians, but also by their own electorate. A well-known example is that of the Italian chief of gambling Francesco Corallo who is accused of maintaining close ties with Theo Heyliger, one of Sint Maarten’s political leaders. At their turn, these and other local politicians accuse The Hague of neo-colonial intentions. The house is on fire. Poverty and unemployment on Statia and Sint Maarten are increasing while those in charge on both sides of the ocean are fighting about who is to blame. They conveniently forget what their task is: making sure that all Dutch citizens can lead a decent and dignified existence. For good order: citizens of these islands are also citizens of the Dutch Kingdom.
What makes the situation even more horrifying is the literal fire that is burning on the dump at the center of Sint Maarten. Schools and corporations have had to shut down while local residents have to keep their doors and windows closed. A dark cloud is covering the sunny island. And again people are discussing who is responsible: who or what caused the fire? Was it done intentionally? But as we already indicated, the fire needs to be extinguished before this discussion can take place.
This fire can only be doused when representatives from different departments (the departments of Environment, Public Health, Infrastructure, and Finances) from Curacao, Sint Maarten, Aruba and the Netherlands, work together. Such a Kingdom wide, management group, based on equity and solidarity, should also include experts from the corporate and the academic worlds. The management group is tasked with wisely spending the money that has been made available for the reconstruction of Sint Maarten in public-private partnerships. This sustainable development will transform Sint Maarten into an environmental friendly and financially profitable, tourist island.
But this plan does not only concern Sint Maarten. This cooperation should lay the foundation for a Dutch Caribbean that takes the lead in social, ecological and economic development, both regionally and internationally. Under the guidance of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the Netherlands has become renowned for its abilities to adjust landscapes to the force of water and to protect her people. Their knowledge and expertise should now be made available to also make the Caribbean infrastructure resistant to the destructive forces of hurricanes and earthquakes.
A similar approach shall extinguish the figural fire that is burning on Statia. Professionals and politicians of the BES-islands, Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten and the Netherlands should be selected to collectively fight poverty and develop a well-functioning daily administration. Experts from the island itself should play a prominent role in this. Selection and strategy development lay with the Kingdom Government: The Dutch Cabinet complemented with the plenipotentiaries from Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten. This Kingdom Government is accountable to a Kingdom Parliament that is in dire need of being established. It will emanate from the Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultation (IPKO), through which Caribbean and Dutch parliamentarians now meet each other twice a year. This is not nearly often enough. Moreover, the Kingdom Government is currently not accountable to the IPKO which leaves this institution rather powerless. By collectively extinguishing the fires on both Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten, we can finally give shape to an equal and democratic Kingdom.
Dr. Francio Guadeloupe (University of Amsterdam).
Jordi Halfman (University of Amsterdam)
Nicole Sanches (University of Utrecht )
Prof. Dr. Monique Volman (University of Amsterdam)
Dr. Yvon van der Pijl (University of Utrecht)
Dr. Guiselle Starink-Martha (University of Amsterdam)
Sanne Rotmeijer (KITLV, Leiden)
Lisenne Delgado LLM (University of Curacao)
Oldine Bryson (former head of the SER, Sint Maarten)
Benjamin Ortega (head of the St. Maarten Development Movement)
The Sint Maarten News Network reports about the initiative of Nicole Sanches and her University of Utrecht colleague Yke Eykemans to support those St Maarteners that left their island and got stranded in the maze of Dutch bureaucracy in the Netherlands.
UTRECHT, Netherlands:--- University of Utrecht researcher Nicole Sanches affiliated to the USM opens online site to support St. Maarteners stranded in the Netherlands. In the rebirth of the USM and its growing recognition in the academic world, several links with sister institutions have been established. Some of these are today beneficial for St. Maarteners here and those making their way to the Netherlands. Drs. Nicole Sanches, a PhD researcher at Utrecht University, conducting research on education and migration in the Dutch Caribbean in a project run by Dr. Francio Guadeloupe of the USM, has teamed up with other academics to create an online site where St. Maarteners can be helped through the bureaucratic maze that is the Netherlands. The media report, of St. Maartners placed in an asylum center meant for refugees, prompted her to act.
Op 14 september verscheen er een opinie stuk van KITLV collega Sanne Rotmeijer en Jordi Halfman in de Volkskrant. Hierin vragen zij aandacht voor de kans die zij zien om nu, post Irma, meer gelijkwaardigheid binnen het koninkrijk te creëren.
Angst, chaos en onzekerheid beheersen het huidige (over)leven van de mensen die achterblijven op Sint Maarten. Met hulp van Nederlandse mariniers, Curaçaose en Arubaanse politiemensen en de buurman en -vrouw wordt er begonnen aan een enorme schoonmaak. Door Nederlandse politici is echter nu al bepaald hoe de lange termijn wederopbouw van Sint Maarten gecoördineerd gaat worden. En belangrijker nog: door wie. Tekenend en vooral een gemiste kans. De wederopbouw van Sint Maarten kan juist als momentum dienen om eindelijk aan gelijkwaardige relaties in het Koninkrijk te werken.
Voor de rest van het artikel, volg onderstaande link.
Jordi Halfman was invited to the NOS radio show 'Met het oog op morgen', to share her worries about the children she works with on Sint Maarten. Many live in the less well developed sections of SXM and so far little information about their health and safety has reached the outside world.
During her fieldwork with Hope, Esmeralda and Brandon in a public school in Dutch Quarter, these children told her they did not have a passport. Unlike the Dutch and American citizens and other 'nationals' they do not have a nation-state elsewhere that is looking out for them.
You can listen to the interview (in Dutch) here.
After the devastating effects of the passing of hurricane Irma, the team of Imagining the Nation is happy to inform you that, under the circumstances, we are all ok. Sadly we have not yet been able to contact all our local partners and the many children we work with on Sint Maarten.
In the aftermath of the storm the team of Imaging the Nation will come together to find out ways in which to help those who need it the most. For now, our thoughts are with all those who are still unaccounted for. And with their families.
“My people, mijn volk, mi pueblo, myn minsken, I have been elected into office to protect our heritage and defend you from them”. Surely this sounds familiar. You have heard it in one or more of the four official political languages of our Kingdom of the Netherlands—English, Dutch, Papiamento, and Frisian.
Like it or not, these days heritage is explicitly being wedded to formal politics. As is the case in the four corners of the globe, political elites throughout the Kingdom of the Netherlands are claiming to be the guardians of heritage. By defending our heritage elected officials and aspirant ministers and members of parliament bellow in every public presentation that they are supposedly protecting our imperiled way of life, our honor, identity and collective survival. The protection “from whom” (the them) question needs to be preceded by the query of what exactly is our heritage?
As a way to come to a different understanding of the way belonging is practiced by different sections of the population of SXM, Dr. Francio Guadeloupe and PhD researcher Jordi Halfman joined the students of USM on their first hike through the moutains of the island.
The idea being that these hikes will take place more regularly with a diverse group of Sint maarteners, these hikes will allow meetings to take place between all of them and a situation to emerge in which dreams for the future may be shared. Moreover, walking together will allow for other ways of being together and learning from each other while the envisioned planting of fruittrees will beautify the island.
As Halfman explained in the article on the St Martin New Network: 'Walking with these students, seeing the island through their eyes, hearing their memories of specific areas of the island, was very enlightening. It helped her realize how important it is to feel a sense of pride, both for the land you live on and your accomplishments while living there.'
During the first two days of December 2016 intellectuals (traditional, organic and vernacular and all what lays between) from all parts of the Dutch Kingdom and other areas within the Caribbean region, came together at the University of Saint Martin (USM) to discuss the important matter of racism at the conference: Raising the Curtain on Race; Globalizing A Critical Analysis of Race and Racism. This ties into our NWO project 'Imaging the Nation in the Classroom' as ideas of racialism and racism are also part of constructions of national identity within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
After an introduction by Dr. Teresa Leslie of the Eastern Caribbean Public Health Foundation (ECPHF), one of the organizers along with Dr. Francio Guadeloupe (USM) and Lianne Leonara of the National Anthropological and Archaeological Memory Management (NAAM), Jorgen Unom JG of Poetry Circle Nowhere opened the conference. His opening was directly followed by the insightful keynote of the social activist and vernacular intellectual Mr. Quincy Gario, who discussed his experiences with Black Peter and racism in the Netherlands. After informing all those present of his struggle for justice, he entered into a lively debate with the USM students most of whom had never encountered this Dutch caricature/festivity.
The team of imagining the nation has collaborated with Amsterdam United of the University of Amsterdam to create an alternative to the Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet tradition that would be anti-racist and inclusive. The products of this initiative will be part of the research of the postdoctoral fellow.
Below you find the founding myth of this invented tradition that strats as follows:
‘Mama. Mama! Mamaaaaah….’
Eli huilde hard en schreeuwde terwijl hij langzaam viel. Langzaam, dieper en diepere totdat hij zich bevond op de bodem van de zee. Eli was met zijn ouders en vele andere mensen uit Damascus op zoek naar een land zonder oorlog en honger. Ze hadden hoop terwijl ze door de donkere nacht voeren. Maar de hoop redde Eli niet. De harde wind deed het kleine bootje wankelen en huilend viel hij, langzaam, naar de bodem van de zee.
Papa en mama konden Eli niet horen, en ook zijn zusjes en broertje waren ver weg. Eli was bang en voelde zich alleen. Maar Eli was niet alleen. Een zeeschildpad, honderden jaren oud, hoorde de stem van de kleine jongen. Langzaam zwom hij naar het geluid van Eli. En ook een dolfijn werd geraakt door de schreeuw van verdriet. Snel dartelde hij naar Eli. Op de bodem van de zee vonden de dolfijn en de schildpad Eli. Ze spraken weinig mensentaal, maar zagen dat Eli hun hulp nodig had. En ze wisten meteen hoe ze hem konden helpen.