As one of the few remaining Indigenous St. Martiners/St Maarteners, I find myself in the unusual position of explaining the very complex Dutch Sint Maarten government, its relationship with its Dutch sisters; Saba, St Eustatius (Statia), Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. It is also unique in that St Maarten is the worlds smallest land mass which is made up of two separate and independent countries, Dutch Sint Maarten a part of the Netherlands, and French Saint Martin, a part of France.
I have a unique perspective, which I thought I should write about. Elections and politics can be very emotional to many St Maarteners, that’s a part of the reason why I have had so many conflicts with the government and politicians, and people simply assume that I’m a trouble maker, but I’m not. I simply ask inconvenient questions to our government, politicians and representative.
When I got to The Netherlands, I found out that I was the ONLY Dutch political refugee in The Netherlands. That put me and everyone else in a very difficult and awkward position, since being a Dutch political refugee in Holland should be impossible. But as you can see, I made it happen.
Growing up, I remember Claude Wathey’s DP (Democratic Party) and Vance James Jr’s SPM (St Maarten’s People’s Movement) which later became the (SPA), and now are called the NA (National Alliance).
Before leaving to go to college over 20 years ago, I remember working for the DP’s Sarah Wescot Williams campaign in 1994-1995. Although I had always been anti-DP, and would only wear blue for the SPM, my mother guilted me into volunteering because she loved our dear cousin Sarah Wescot Williams.
Like Forrest Gump, I seem to be in the right place at the right time – or maybe the wrong place at the right time, but I returned to St Maarten in 2009. 1 year before Dutch Sint Maarten gained country status, by being granted semi-autonomy by The Netherlands/Holland.
I had been living in Illinois, and had been inspired by friend by Barack Obama. Bored out of my mind, I began learning about online campaigning, and began a bi-lingual (Spanish/English) Vlog promoting Obama in approx. 2007.
Although I had never taken a formal computer class, or course in my life I soon caught on, and started learning from online ‘Mentors’, how to wage political campaigns.
Within months I was generating millions of videos views. By 2009, Obama had been elected, and I returned to St Maarten April 2009, not by choice.
Because of my skills, the DP’s main Advisor Julian Rollocks hired me to run the DP’s online campaign. I had no problem with the work, and everyone was impressed. But at ‘payday’ there was always a problem.
I was dared in Parliament by Julian Rollocks as he prepared for the upcoming campaign in 2009, to “Do my thing”. But Mr Rollocks did not know what my “thing” was.
I launched vlogs, blogs, websites and various out social platforms explaining in detail how politicians used locals and foreigners alike for their skills during election times, but when it’s time to pay the staff that got them elected, they have nothing but excuses and lies.
Julian Rollocks and his party the DP, who at the time had been St Maarten’s top party for 50 years struck back. They used their old ‘gutter’ campaign. They slandered and lied about me to the newspapers, on the radios and on Tv.
My response was to launch blog after blog detailing the corruption and criminal activities in the St Maarten government.
To the DP’s surprise, I did not just come with accusations and allegations, I came with PROOF.
Email exchanges, video, audio, documents, communications proving felonious activity between the St Maarten government and organized crime.
I was attacked repeatedly both by the corrupt press, and physically.
Rather than scaring me, it made me more determined.
I had the inside info on not just the DP, but also the brand new UPP, the NA and more.
The government tried to use the police to stop me.
So it was me vs the entire government of Sint Maarten and the Police Department.
I trounced the Government and Police all over the internet.
Evidently I had not been the only one to be trampled on and intimidated by the government and police.
I went from one view on my one blog, to millions of views to hundreds of blogs.
For the first time in 50 years, the DP party was destroyed!
The year was 2010.
10-10-10 = October 10th 2010 – that is the most important date in Country Sint Maarten’s history so far.
That is the day that Sint Maarten along with Curacao gained semi-autonomy from the Netherlands. Aruba had already achieved that status. Bonaire, (St)Eustatius and Saba felt that they could not survive on their own initially, and formed the (BES) islands and became direct terroritories of The Netherlands.
What happened next….. is the stuff that can only be found in a very good political and crime thriller movie or novel.
Although I blogged prolifically back then, a lot of my material are either video or photos, because I am foremost a vlogger.
Although I was arrested several times (no charges-no convictions), I’ve been locked up, taken out of my home, they’ve confiscated and tried to destroy my equipment, they did very little except detroy their own names, reputations and careers.
When it came to my name, I didn’t care – they had already tried to destroy my name.
The more they attacked and savaged me in the press and mainstream media, hiring bloggers such as Doxie Bibi Hodge Shaw to post attacks against my name and character and slander me. They did a lot, and the more they attacked me, the more my followers grew.
They created a lot of lies, innuendos and rumors about me starting in 2009. But by my 2015 arrest, people had been observing me for at least six years, they knew that I lived in my home, at my computers. If you crossed me on a bad day, I would cuss you out.
That is me, otherwise I was very content communicating online, taking care of the pets and listening to jazz music.
I have also included in this page Wikipedia as a source of more in depth content – what I post is factual, but is also coming from my individual perspective so I believe adding other neutral sources balances everything out. It’s also important to note that information concerning St Maarten are written in English, Dutch, Papiamentu, Patois (St Maarten English). So certain words, phrases and sentences might seem like grammatical errors or typos, and they are not. If you do spot errors or would like to add info, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
ST MAARTEN GOVERNMENT TIMELINE:
2010- Dutch Sint Maarten gains country status: Although William Marlin and his NA (National Alliance) received the most votes. Former Democratic member Theo Heyliger teamed up with is nemesis Sarah Wescot Williams and the barely breathing Democratic Party to get the majority to run the government. Sarah’s reward for joining with Theo’s United Peoples Party? She was made country St Maarten’s first Prime Minister. Patrick Illidge and Frans Richardson both of the National Alliance also defected to the UPP and DP coalition putting the National Alliance in the minority. At this point I was shooting thousands of photos per day and hours of video. To Get a better understanding of the SXM Government 2009-2011 please review the video below: Know your St Maarten Government Segredo (Secret). It shows the behind the scenes wheeling and dealing as the SXM Government falls repeatedly
2012- St Maarten Government crashes again. By now everyone is aware of me, that’s bad – but it’s also good. Many people are on my side, but they fear repercussions. So they whisper in my ears when they see me, where I need to be. Below I snuck into Great Bay via the beach and caught Asje and Helmin Wiels in a conversation. Wiels is soon assassinated and Asje eventually gets Wiel’s job as Prime Minister. Considering Mafia boss Francesco Corallo has admitted to bribing both then leader and potential Prime Minister (if Wiels conveniently died) Curacao leader Gerrit Schotte. Schotte is currently in prison and then leader of the St Maarten government Theo Heyliger. It is no surprise that the St Maarten government fell, and Wiels was assassinated on the very same day, which then made Schotte, who Wiels had labelled as a ‘sociopath’ Prime Minister. When Schotte is indicted, Asje then becomes Prime Minister. Last month former Prime Minister Schotte apparently filed a complaint which included my name, and a host of random characters, blaming us for ‘conspiring to and bringing his government down’. Considering, I can barely conspire to get out of bed in the mornings, I think Schotte will have a problem proving his case in a court of law.
2013- The SXM Government falls again. Weeks after I recorded Parliamentarian Romain Laville claim on the below video that UPP leader Theo Heyliger had bribed him. Romain defects back to Theo’s UPP party. Insiders claim millions in bribes and favors were a part of it. At the same time I am approached by a top UPP member. He offers me a vide tape that he claims shows Parliamentarian Patrick Illidge accepting bribe money from Pimp and owner of the Bada Bing brotl aap Van den Heuvel money. I refuse the ideo, it seemed like a set up. So Michael Granger, a staunch supporter of the UPP and also the editor of the “unbiased” Daily Herald” is said to have uploaded the video. In later reports pimp, Jaap Van Den Heuvel claims that Theo Heyliger asked him to set Patrick Illidge up. A lot of money is exchanged everyone including Patrick goes silent. I continue to ask questions June 22 2013, the St Maarten Police illegal break into my home at 3 a.m. and l am locked up for several weeks. The only question that I’m really asked is “Why do I continue to blog and vlog?” I am released under the conditions that I remain quiet and stop blogging and vlogging about the police and government. I promise to stop and they release me (I have all of the videos and photos proving this- the Prosecutors have the dossier too).
2014- The Government once again is in chaos, once again I’m thrown in jail. I am assaulted by then Parliamentarian Leroy de Weever in the company of his niece then, Minister of Health Cornelius de Weever. Leroy stole my Samsung tablet and assaulted me thinking that he would gain valuable information from my device, and get away with it. I file charges with the KPSM Police who turned the case over to the Federal Detectives or Lands Recherche. The case was called the “Pofish” or “Potvis” case. The first case in Country St Maarten where a civilian or private citizen filed criminal charges against a government official or member of Parliament. To make a long story short, I beat Leroy in court, although they tried a lot. As a convicted felon Leroy can never pass any screening for any appointment in government
2015- I am re-arrested. Accused of everything from stalking to blackmail. Not ONE charge holds. I am released, then re-arrested for ‘profanity’. It changes nothing. Once again the government falls. Then they kill my animals try to kill me several times. I am flown to Holland for “safety’ and ‘security’ and ‘surgery’, and I become Holland’s first Dutch refugee https://sxmgovernment.com/2015/10/03/condolences-the-full-story-of-the-dutch-sint-maarten-government-2014-2015-r-i-p/
(to be updated at later date)
2016- January of 2016 Holland announces that it along with the United States and Italy are launching a 23 illion Euro investigation into corruption and criminal activity within the St Maarten government. New Elections are called in 2016. The website will cover the entire elections. I am currently in Holland where ironically, the worst thing that you can have right now is a European/Dutch passport….. tbc…
Dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles 1986 and 2010
Location Netherlands Antilles
Participants Governments of the island territories of the Netherlands Antilles
Government of the Netherlands Antilles
Government of the Netherlands
Separation of Aruba in 1986, complete dissolution in 2010
Map of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Netherlands and the Caribbean islands are to the same scale.
The Netherlands Antilles, an autonomous Caribbean country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, was dissolved on 10 October 2010.
After dissolution, the “BES islands” of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba became special municipalities of the Netherlands proper, while Curaçao and Sint Maarten became constituent countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along the lines of Aruba, which separated from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986.
Elections: 2006, 2010 Dissolution Islands
The idea of the Netherlands Antilles as a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands never enjoyed the full support of all islands, and political relations between islands were often strained. Geographically, the Leeward Islands of Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire, and the Windward Islands of Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten lie almost 1,000 kilometres/625 miles apart. Culturally, the Leeward Islands have deep connections with the South American mainland, especially Venezuela, and its population speaks a Portuguese-Dutch creole language called Papiamento; the Windward islands are part of the English-speaking Caribbean.
When the new constitutional relationship between the Netherlands and its former West Indian colonies was enshrined in the Kingdom Charter of 1954, the colonial administrative division of the Netherlands Antilles, which was derived from the colony of Curaçao and Dependencies and grouped all six Caribbean islands together under one administration, was taken for granted. Despite the fact that Aruban calls for secession from the Netherlands Antilles originated in the 1930s, the governments of the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles did everything in their power to keep the six islands together. The Netherlands did this so as to make sure that the Netherlands Antilles could become independent as soon as possible, a call that became increasingly louder in the Netherlands after the Willemstad riots of 1969 in Curaçao. The government of the Netherlands Antilles feared that the whole Netherlands Antilles would disintegrate if one of the islands seceded; Antillean Prime Minister Juancho Evertsz once famously remarked that “six minus one equals zero”.
Increasing unrest on Aruba, especially after a consultative referendum on secession was organized by the island government in 1977, meant that the issue of Aruban secession had to be taken into consideration. After long negotiations, it was agreed that Aruba could become a separate country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1986, but only on the condition that it would become fully independent in 1996. The People’s Electoral Movement, which led the Aruban island government in the years to 1986, reluctantly agreed to this, but the Aruban People’s Party, which came to power after 1986, refused all cooperation with the Netherlands on the issue of independence.
On the other hand, the Netherlands became more and more aware that the ties with the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom would probably endure for a longer period of time. Suriname, the other partner of the Kingdom that attained independence in 1975, had gone through a period of dictatorship and civil war, which weakened the pro-independence ideology of the Dutch government. Aruba and the Netherlands agreed in July 1990 to delete Article 62, which foresaw Aruban independence in 1996, from the Charter. This was finalized in 1994, with some conditions about cooperation in the fields of justice, good governance and finance.
Wake of Aruban secession
See also: Curaçao status referendum, 1993 and Sint Maarten status referendum, 1994
Meanwhile, the permanent position of Aruba as a separate country within the Kingdom led to calls for a similar arrangement for the other islands, especially on Sint Maarten. In the early 1990s, the five remaining islands entered into a period of reflection about whether or not to remain part of the Netherlands Antilles. In March 1990, Dutch Minister of Aruban and Antillean Affairs Ernst Hirsch Ballin came up with a draft for a new Kingdom Charter, in which the Windward islands Curaçao and Bonaire, and the Leeward Islands Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten would form two new countries within the Kingdom. This proposal met with mixed responses on the islands.
After a committee was installed investigating the future of the Netherlands Antilles, a “Conference on the Future” (“Toekomstconferentie” in Dutch, “Round Table Conference”) was held in 1993. The Netherlands proposed to take over the federal tasks of the Netherlands Antilles, with each of the islands remaining autonomous to the extent granted by the Islands Regulation of the Netherlands Antilles. Curaçao would be exempted and would attain country status like Aruba; Bonaire and Sint Maarten would be supported to help attain country status in the future; Saba and Sint Eustatius would not have this perspective and would remain what was called “Kingdom islands”. The fact that the Kingdom affairs would also be broadened to include law enforcement to reduce international crime (thus reducing the autonomy of Aruba and Curaçao), and that Sint Maarten would not attain country status right away, meant that the Conference could only result in a failure.
It was decided to postpone the next meeting of the conference until after a status referendum was held on Curaçao. The referendum’s result was in favour of maintaining and restructuring the Netherlands Antilles, in spite of the island government and the Netherlands Antillean government campaigning for country status. The other islands also voted for maintaining the Netherlands Antilles. The Party for the Restructured Antilles, composed of campaigners in favour of maintaining and restructuring the Netherlands Antilles, came to power.
New referendum cycle in the wake of Sint Maarten’s vote for autonomy
Main articles: Sint Maarten status referendum, 2000; Bonaire status referendum, 2004; Saba status referendum, 2004; Curaçao status referendum, 2005; and Sint Eustatius status referendum, 2005
In the end, restructuring the Netherlands Antilles did not get very far. Probably the most symbolic change was the adoption of an anthem of the Netherlands Antilles in 2000. In the same year another status vote was held on Sint Maarten, this time in favour of becoming a country of its own within the Kingdom. This sparked a new referendum cycle across the Netherlands Antilles. At the same time, a commission composed of representatives from the Netherlands and all the islands of the Netherlands Antilles investigated the future of the Netherlands Antilles. In its 2004 report, the commission advised a revision of the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands in order to dissolve the Netherlands Antilles, with Curaçao and Sint Maarten becoming countries of their own within the Kingdom, “Kingdom islands” with Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba.
The referendum held on Curaçao in 2005 also came out in favour of country status. All other islands voted for closer ties with the Netherlands, except for Sint Eustatius, which wanted to retain the Netherlands Antilles.
Round Table Conferences
Following the referendums on all islands, the first Round Table Conference between the islands, the Netherlands Antillean government, and the Netherlands was organized on 26 November 2005. It was agreed that Curaçao and Sint Maarten should become countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, while the three other islands should become directly part of the Netherlands. Agreement was reached that the Netherlands would take over the debts of the Netherlands Antilles, on condition that the islands would commit themselves to producing balanced budgets, so as to prevent future buildups of debt. A Board for Financial Supervision (Dutch: College financieel toezicht (Cft)), composed of members from both the Netherlands Antilles and the Netherlands, would be installed to supervise the budgets of the islands and of the Netherlands Antillean government.
These agreements were worked out in the following year. At a Mini Round Table held on 11 October 2006, a closing agreement (Dutch: slotakkoord) was signed, which stated that Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius would become public bodies of the Netherlands. A closing agreement was reached with Curaçao and Sint Maarten on 2 November. This agreement included specifics on the workings of the Board for Financial Supervision.
The closing agreements were ratified by the Netherlands and the individual islands, except by Curaçao, which rejected them on 29 November 2006. The other parties decided to continue negotiating without Curaçao. A transitional agreement was reached on 12 February 2007, which aimed at 15 December 2008, Koninkrijksdag, as the date of dissolution.
The island council of Curaçao later in 2007 adopted the closing agreement, but in 2009 decided to put the agreement to a referendum. This referendum was narrowly in favour of the closing agreement. A similar referendum on Bonaire was annulled by the Governor of the Netherlands Antilles because the question posed was considered too vague.
15 December 2008 turned out to be an unfeasible date for dissolution. Instead a Round Table Conference was held on that day, in which the agreements were once again put on paper. In October 2009, it was agreed that the dissolution would take place on 10 October 2010, and on 9 September 2010 a closing Round Table was organized in which the Act of Parliament amending the Charter was ceremonially signed by the parties.
Curaçao and Sint Maarten
Curaçao and Sint Maarten became two new “landen” (constituent states, literally: countries) within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along the lines of Aruba and the Netherlands. Their planned new joint currency is the Caribbean guilder, which was expected to be brought in by 2012 but was delayed.
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba
Main articles: Caribbean Netherlands and Bonaire constitutional referendum, 2010
The BES islands (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba) have become direct parts of the Netherlands as special municipalities (bijzondere gemeenten), a form of “public body” (openbaar lichaam) as outlined in article 134 of the Dutch Constitution.The special municipalities do not constitute part of a province.
These municipalities resemble ordinary Dutch municipalities in most ways (they have a mayor, aldermen and a municipal council, for example) and will have to introduce most Dutch law. Residents will be able to vote in Dutch national and European elections. There are, however, some derogations: social security, for example, is not on the same level as it is in the continental Netherlands.
The three islands will have to involve the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs before they can make agreements with countries in the region. The special municipalities would be represented in the Kingdom Government by the Netherlands, as they can vote for the States-General (the Dutch parliament).
On 1 January 2011, the three islands switched to the US dollar rather than the euro that is used in the European Netherlands.
All six islands may also continue to access the Common Court of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, the court of appeal superior to the islands’ own courts of first instance. The islands share the Supreme Court of the entire Kingdom, including the European Netherlands, in The Hague
Status in the European Union
The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a member of the European Union. However, Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten have the status of overseas countries and territories (OCTs) and are not part of the EU. Nevertheless, only one type of citizenship exists within the Kingdom (Dutch), and all Dutch citizens are EU citizens (including those in the OCTs).
The Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of the Netherlands agreed not to change the status of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba with regard to the EU in the first five years of integration of these islands into the Netherlands, after which a re-evaluation of the islands’ EU status is to take place. The islands thus will remain OCTs at least until 2015.
The Netherlands secured a provision in the Treaty of Lisbon that says that any Caribbean part of the Netherlands can opt for a change of status to Outermost Region (OMR) if it so wishes, without having to change the Treaties of the European Union.
Date of transition
On 1 September 2009, Saba announced that it wished to withdraw from the Netherlands Antilles immediately, rather than wait until October 2010.] However, according to Dutch State Secretary Bijleveld for Kingdom Relations, it was not legally possible for Saba to become separate from the Antilles earlier.
The transition took place at midnight (00:00) on 10 October 2010 (“10/10/10”) in the Netherlands Antilles (UTC-04:00), 06:00 in the European part of the Netherlands (UTC+02:00).
Legal documents Kingdom charter
The Kingdom Act amending the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands was drafted on 20 January 2009. It consists of six articles, with the changes to the Charter included in articles one to three. The Kingdom law provides for article 3 to take effect on the date of publication of the law in the official journal of the Netherlands, and articles 1 and 2 at a later date to be specified by royal decree. In this way the future countries of Sint Maarten and Curaçao will be able to draft their constitutions and fundamental legislation before the new relations within the Kingdom are to take effect.
The House of Representatives adopted the bill on 15 April 2010, and the Senate on 6 July 2010. The Estates of the Netherlands Antilles adopted the bill on 20 August and the Estates of Aruba did the same on 4 September.
Legislation for the integration of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba into the Netherlands
On 21 November 2008, five draft acts for the integration of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba into the Netherlands were accepted by the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom. These acts are the Act on the public bodies of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Dutch: Wet op de openbare lichamen Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba, abbreviated to WOLBES), the Act on financial relations of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius, the Amendment to the election act with regard to Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius, the Introduction act on the public bodies of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius, and the Adaptation act on the public bodies of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius.
WOLBES defines the administrative organization of the public bodies and is modeled on Dutch municipality law. The Introduction act specifies that Netherlands Antilles law will remain in force after the transition of the three islands to the Dutch polity, and defines the process in which Dutch law will slowly take over from Netherlands Antilles law in the islands. The Adaptation act adapts Netherlands Antilles law and Dutch law and is to take effect immediately.
The House of Representatives adopted these acts on 9 March 2010, the Senate on 11 May.
(Dutch pronunciation: [sɪnt ˈmaːrtə(n)]) is an island country in the Caribbean. It is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. With a population of 33,609 on an area of 34 km2 (13 sq mi), it encompasses the southern 40% of the divided island of Saint Martin, while the northern 60% of the island constitutes the French overseas collectivity of Saint-Martin. Its capital is Philipsburg.
Before 10 October 2010, Sint Maarten was known as the Island Territory of Sint Maarten (Dutch: Eilandgebied Sint Maarten), and was one of five island territories (eilandgebieden) that constituted the Netherlands Antilles.
In 1493, during Christopher Columbus‘ second voyage to the West Indies, upon first sighting the island he named it Isla de San Martín after Saint Martin of Tours because it was 11 November, St. Martin’s Day. However, though he claimed it as a Spanish territory, Columbus never landed there, and Spain made the settlement of the island a low priority.
The French and Dutch, on the other hand, both coveted the island. While the French wanted to colonize the islands between Trinidad and Bermuda, the Dutch found San Martín a convenient halfway point between their colonies in New Amsterdam (present day New York) and Brazil. With few people inhabiting the island, the Dutch easily founded a settlement there in 1631, erecting Fort Amsterdam as protection from invaders. Jan Claeszen Van Campen became its first governor, and soon thereafter the Dutch East India Company began their salt mining operations. French and British settlements sprang up on the island as well. Taking note of these successful colonies and wanting to maintain their control of the salt trade, the Spanish now found St. Martin much more appealing. The Eighty Years’ War which had been raging between Spain and the Netherlands provided further incentive to attack.
Spanish forces captured Saint Martin from the Dutch in 1633, seizing control and driving most or all of the colonists off the island. At Point Blanche, they built what is now Old Spanish Fort to secure the territory. Although the Dutch retaliated in several attempts to win back St. Martin, they failed. Fifteen years after the Spanish conquered the island, the Eighty Years’ War ended. Since they no longer needed a base in the Caribbean and St. Martin barely turned a profit, the Spanish lost their inclination to continue defending it. In 1648, they deserted the island.
With St. Martin free again, both the Dutch and the French jumped at the chance to re-establish their settlements. Dutch colonists came from St. Eustatius, while the French came from St. Kitts. After some initial conflict, both sides realized that neither would yield easily. Preferring to avoid an all-out war, they signed the Treaty of Concordia in 1648, which divided the island in two. During the treaty’s negotiation, the French had a fleet of naval ships off shore, which they used as a threat to bargain more land for themselves. In spite of the treaty, relations between the two sides were not always cordial. Between 1648 and 1816, conflicts changed the border sixteen times. The entire island came under effective French control from 1795 when Netherlands became a puppet state under the French Empire until 1815. In the end, the French came out ahead with 53 km2 (20 sq mi; 61%) against 34 km2 (13 sq mi; 39%) on the Dutch side.
With the new cultivation of cotton, tobacco, and sugar, the French and the Dutch imported a massive number of slaves to work on the plantations. The slave population quickly grew larger than that of the land owners. Subjected to cruel treatment, slaves staged rebellions, and their overwhelming numbers made them impossible to ignore. In 1848, the French abolished slavery in their colonies including the French side of St. Martin. Slaves on the Dutch side of the island protested and threatened to flee to the French side to seek asylum. The local Dutch authorities relented and emancipated the colonies’ slaves. While this decree was respected locally, it was not until 1863 when the Dutch abolished slavery in all of their island colonies that the slaves became legally free.
After abolition of slavery, plantation culture declined and the island’s economy suffered. In 1939, St. Martin received a major boost when it was declared aduty-free port. In 1941, the island was shelled by a German U-boat during World War II. The Dutch side began focusing on tourism in the 1950s, with the French side following suit two decades later. Because of being split up into a Dutch and a French part, the tourist boom was heavier on Sint Maarten than on the surrounding islands. Its Princess Juliana International Airport became one of the busiest in the Eastern Caribbean. For much of this period, Sint Maarten was governed by business tycoon Claude Wathey of the Democratic Party.
The island’s demographics changed dramatically during this period as well. The island’s population increased from a mere 5,000 people to around 60,000 people in the mid-1990s. Immigration from the neighbouring Lesser Antilles, Curaçao, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, the United States, Europe, and Asiaturned the native population into a minority.
Sint Maarten became an “island territory” (eilandgebied in Dutch) of the Netherlands Antilles in 1983. Before that date, Sint Maarten was part of the island territory of the Windward Islands, together withSaba and Sint Eustatius. The status of an island territory entails considerable autonomy summed up in the Island Regulation of the Netherlands Antilles. The island territory of Sint Maarten was ruled by an island council, an executive council, and a Lieutenant Governor (Dutch: gezaghebber) appointed by the Dutch Crown.
In 1994, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and France signed the Franco-Dutch treaty on Saint Martin border controls, which allows for joint Franco-Dutch border controls on so-called “risk flights”. After some delay, the treaty was ratified in November 2006 in the Netherlands, and subsequently entered into force on 1 August 2007. Though the treaty is now in force, its provisions are not yet implemented as the working group specified in the treaty is not yet installed.
On 10 October 2010, Sint Maarten became a constituent country (Dutch: Land Sint Maarten) within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, making it a constitutional equal partner with Aruba, Curaçao, and theNetherlands proper. Sint Maarten has been assigned the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country codes of SXM and SX,and the .sx Internet ccTLD became available to register on the 15th of November 2012.
The combined population of the two territories has continued to grow, albeit at a slower rate, and is now (2013) around 75,000.
Government and politics
The Constitution of Sint Maarten was unanimously adopted by the island council of Sint Maarten on 21 July 2010. Elections for a new island council were held on 17 September 2010, since the number of seats was increased from 11 to 15. The newly elected island council became the Estates of Sint Maarten on 10 October.
Eugene Holiday was appointed as the first Governor of Sint Maarten (Dutch: gouverneur) by the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in September 2010. He also assumed office on 10 October 2010.
Current composition of the Estates of Sint Maarten
|United People’s Party (UPP)||Theo Heyliger||6,211||42.67||7||+1|
|National Alliance (NA)||William Marlin||4,055||27.86||4||-3|
|Democratic Party (DP)||Sarah Wescot-Williams||2,342||16.09||2||0|
|United St. Maarten Party (USP)||Frans Richardson||1,647||11.31||2||New|
|One St. Maarten People Party (OSPP)||Lenny Priest||169||1.16||0||New|
|Social Reform Party (SRP)||Jacinto Mock||132||0.91||0||New|
|Source: Government of Sint Maarten|
In 1978, the government of the Netherlands Antilles installed a Research Committee on the Windward Islands (Dutch: Commissie van Onderzoek Bovenwindse Eilanden) to investigate claims of corruption in the island government. Even though the report issued by this commission was damaging for the island’s government, measures were not put into place to curb corruption, arguably because the government of the Netherlands Antilles depended on the support of Wathey’s Democratic Party in the Estates of the Netherlands Antilles. In August 1990, the public prosecutor of the Netherlands Antilles started an investigation into the alleged ties between the island government of Sint Maarten and the Sicilian Mafia, and in 1991 the Court of Audit of the Netherlands Antilles issued a report which concluded that the island government of Sint Maarten was ailing.
In the government and parliament of the Netherlands, the call for measures became louder and louder. With Dutch pressure, the government of the Netherlands Antilles installed the Pourier Commission tasked with investigating the state of affairs of the island government of Sint Maarten in December 1991. Its report concluded that the island was in a severe financial crisis, that rules of democratic decision-making were continuously broken, and that the island government constituted an oligarchy. In short, the island government failed completely according to the report. After long negotiations, theKingdom government enacted a General Measure of Kingdom Administration (Dutch: Algemene Maatregel van Rijksbestuur) in early 1993, placing Sint Maarten under direct supervision of the Kingdom. Although originally meant for one year, the Order-in-Council for the Kingdom was eventually extended until 1 March 1996.
Though much has changed since, allegations of criminal activities continue to plague Sint Maarten. In 2004, the Minister of Justice of the Netherlands Antilles asked the Scientific Research and Documentation Centre (Dutch: Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek- en Documentatiecentrum (WODC)) of the Dutch Ministry of Justice to conduct research into organized crime in Sint Maarten. The report concluded that money laundering and cocaine trade are widespread on Sint Maarten. It also alleged that money from the island was used to finance Hamas, its associate Holy Land Foundation, and the Taliban.
In April 2009, former Commissioner Louie Laveist was convicted, and sentenced to an 18-month prison sentence, by the Sint Maarten Court-of-First-Instance, on account of forgery, fraud, and bribery.]He was later acquitted of forgery and of fraud by the Common Court of Justice of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, but not of bribery.
In the 2011 Netherlands Antilles census, the population of the island territory was 33,609.
Births and deaths
|Year||Population (x1000)||Live births||Deaths||Natural increase||Crude birth rate||Crude death rate||Rate of natural increase||TFR|
- Philipsburg (1,327 inhabitants).
- Lower Prince’s Quarter (8,143 inhabitants).
- Cul de Sac (7,593 inhabitants).
- Cole Bay (5,594 inhabitants).
- Upper Prince’s Quarter (3,139 inhabitants).
- Little Bay (Fort Amsterdam) (3,093 inhabitants).
- Simpson Bay (596 inhabitants).
- Lowlands (348 inhabitants).
According to a 2011 estimate, the majority of the inhabitants of Sint Maarten
- Protestant; 41.9%
- Roman Catholic; 33.1%,
- Hindu; 5.2%
- Other Christian; 4.1%
- Jehovah’s Witness; 1.7%,
- Evangelical; 1.4%,
- Islam and Judaism; 1.1%,
- Other; 1.3% (includes Buddhist, Sikh, Rastafarian)
- None; 7.9%
- No response; 2.4% (2011 est.)
- According to a 2001 estimate, the majority of the inhabitants of Sint Maarten
The official languages are Dutch and English. A local English-based creole dialect is also spoken. An annual regatta is also held over 3 days culminating in the first weekend in March. Among the leading cultural artists of the island are Isidore “Mighty Dow” York, kaisonian, panman; Roland Richardson, Impressionist painter; Nicole de Weever, dancer, broadway star; Susha Hien, choreographer; Lasana M. Sekou, poet, author, independence advocate; Clara Reyes, choreographer; Tanny and The Boys, string band music group. The annual Saint Maarten Carnival starts in April and ends in May. The Grand Carnival parade takes place on the Dutch side and is dedicated to the Queen of the Netherlands.
Sport and recreation
Popular team sports in Sint Maarten include baseball, cricket, and soccer (or football). Recreational fishing, golf, and water sports (including diving, kayaking,snorkelling, and yachting) are popular amongst tourists.
The Sint Maarten Soccer Association was founded in 1986. The organisation is not a member of FIFA, but became an associate member of CONCACAF in 2002, and a full member in 2013. The national soccer team debuted in 1989, and plays its home games at the Raoul Illidge Sports Complex, which has a 3,000-spectator capacity. After an initial period of popularity during the 1990s, including an appearance at the 1993 Caribbean Cup, interest in soccer declined, with the national team playing its last official match in 2000 (against Dominica). However, Sint Maarten is scheduled to return to international competition in March 2016, in the 2017 Caribbean Cup qualificationtournament.
The Sint Maarten Cricket Association is a member of the Leeward Islands Cricket Association (LICA), which is in turn a member of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB). With rare exceptions (for instance, the Stanford 20/20), the national cricket team plays only against other LICA members, though Sint Maarteners may go on to play for the Leeward Islands team at regional level and for the West Indies team internationally. The primary venue for cricket is the Charles Vlaun Cricket Field. Colin Hamer was the first Sint Maartener to play first-class cricket, while Keacy Carty was the first islander to play at international level (for the West Indies under-19s). Carty was the man of the final at the 2016 Under-19 World Cup, and was later described by the prime minister, William Marlin, as having “brought the name of St Maarten to international acclaim”.
Prior to cricket becoming popular, baseball was preferred. No national team existed, although Sint Maarteners were eligible to play for the Netherlands Antilles baseball team before its dissolution.Several Sint Maarteners have passed through the American baseball system, playing at college level or in the minor leagues. Allen Halley played college baseball for the South Alabama Jaguars and was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 30th round of the 1995 draft, reaching Class A-Advanced in the minor leagues. Three others, Rene Leveret, Marc Ramirez, and Rafael Skeete, were signed asfree agents by major league teams during their careers, but played only in the minor leagues.
The island is famous for its runway at Princess Juliana International Airport, in which landing aircraft pass within less than 35 meters of Maho Beach below, due to the close proximity of the runway to the ocean. The planes appear to land dangerously close to beach goers. Therefore, this beach and airport has become a popular place for people to view airplane landings.
The Caribbean International Academy founded in 2003 is now the only top preparatory private boarding and day school on the island of St. Maarten. Catering to children from Kindergarten to Grade 12, CIA is also the only school offering Canadian/Ontario High School Diploma (OSSD) and 90% of their graduates go on to attend universities in Europe, Canada and the United States.
The American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC), founded in 1978, was previously located on Montserrat. Because of the eruption of the Soufrière Hills volcano in 1995, AUC moved its campus to St. Maarten later that year. A permanent campus was completed in 1998 in Cupecoy.
The University of Sint Eustatius School of Medicine, founded in 1999, was previously located on Sint Eustatius. In September 2013, the University of Sint Eustatius moved its campus to Cole Bay, St. Maarten.
Transportation and economy
Air transportation to Sint Maarten and the whole island is served by Princess Juliana International Airport, which is well known for its very low final approach landings close to a popular beach at the end of the runway. Winair (Windward Islands Airways) has its headquarters on the grounds of the airport.
There are no railroads on the island.
In 2014, St. Maarten had more gaming machines per resident than any other country in the world.