I am writing this in English so that my friends in St. Maarten can understand it too because it seems that the kids we “adopted” here after hurricane Irma, had a problem going to school here because they don’t understand Dutch or Papiamentu.
Oops, sorry our mistake, but we are working on it to correct that problem.
Maybe it’s the result of introducing Papiamentu in schools because when I went to school we were forced to speak Dutch and from Dutch we learned the other “living” languages resulting in our ability nowadays to switch from one language to another without a problem.
But that’s not the point.
Since Hurricane Irma ruined St. Maarten, everybody on the sister islands and in Holland, moved heaven and earth to help even before the hurricane struck St. Maarten.
The Dutch marines here were already preparing a week before it hit the island.
In Holland they were collecting money, here the schools, the Chinese community, the wholesalers, supermarkets, even KLM put up extra flights to evacuate people. Curoil paid for the fuel to fly the evacuees over, radio stations Easy 97 and Laser 101 were providing information for the families here. Everybody was concerned and was involved in helping because direct or indirectly we were connected either by friends or family or by trade.
We saw the video clips of the unbelievable devastation and the helpless people and the terrible loss of property and lives.
We were all moved and sprung into action.
We also saw the looting and when we realized that people were not taking food or water but flat screen tv’s, fridges, scooters and stealing gas from abandoned cars, and our hearts sank.
The Dutch marines were the first there after the hurricane hit to reestablish law and order to avoid complete anarchy.
On Facebook somebody put up a video clip claiming to have been kicked out of the place he was staying by the Dutch marines so they could stay there.
I knew it was fake the minute I saw that but, there were enough people that used that to air their frustration and make it a racial thing.
Later it turned out that I was right and that it was fake and the man was lying.
Today the island is preparing for a second and a third blow from José and Maria passing this coming week.
What really hurt me is, that when I was watching the news on a Dutch channel the prime minister of St Maarten was claiming that the Dutch marines did not do enough and somewhere else I read that they claim that the help came too late and was not enough compared to what the French send over to their part of the island.
The two hairs on my head stood straight up and I was really really mad because why don’t they mention that if it was not for the Dutch marines who would they have called for help, the Ghostbusters?
I have learned in my life that no matter what you do to help people there will ALWAYS be some form of criticism on whatever you do to help.
I have done so many charity projects and every time I swear that it was the last one because every time I get kicked by bystanders with their hands in their pockets watching me struggle to help others.
The same people that are complaining about the help the Dutch offered and still is offering are the ones that are screaming for the independence of St. Maarten. Now ask yourself where would you be if it wasn’t for the Dutch. You should be kissing the ground these people walk on instead of being so ungrateful.
I am sad and disappointed because I know the people of St Maarten are not like that but it is a small group of people that are looking out for their own interest in the middle of this chaos and turmoil.
Be strong, remember we are all right behind you, including the Dutch people and marines.
By Arthur Donker