Statia’s delusional political leader, Clyde van Putten, insists that St. Eustatius is an easy prey to be ransacked by Dutch Marines. The incident of 1780, was for van Putten as if it happened yesterday. The worst hurricane ever razed most of the island to the ground, and killed at least 4,000 people.
Our modern concept of international aid after a natural disaster took quite different proportions for England with Admiral Rodney, who regarded it as a prime opportunity to plunder what he could. The wealth that Admiral Rodney ultimately stripped from Statia and Saba was more than 15,000 pounds, an incredible sum. The greedy Admiral Rodney, who was entitled to a share of the loot, pilfered the lucrative trading port for every dime.
As if that wasn’t enough, Rodney ransacked the Jewish quarters, searched their clothing, and turned Jewish graves upside down. The rumor was the Jews had sewn precious stones and gold coins into the inseams of their clothing and put money in coffins for fake funerals.
Rodney hated Jews in general and particularly those he found on Eustatius, as reported in his log. Burning with hate, Admiral Sir George Rodney triumphantly destroyed the synagogue and burned Jewish warehouses, homes, and properties.
They (the Jews of St. Eustatius) cannot too soon be taken care of – they are notorious for the cause of (revolution in) America and France.
Rodney arrested 101 adult Jewish males, brutally locking them up in warehouses without food and water for days. He also deported the heads of over thirty Jewish families to neighboring Islands.
From the Jews alone, Rodney confiscated over 8,000 pounds sterling in cash, an enormous sum. That amount did not include Jewish goods, ships, and property. Rodney made sure to impoverish the Jews. Jews were easy prey; they had no army, no Navy. The admiral happily wrote to his family with promises of a new London home. To his daughter he promised the best harpsichord money could purchase. He confidently wrote of a marriage settlement for one of his sons, and soon-to-be purchased commission in the foot guards for another son. He wrote of a dowry for his daughter to marry the Earl of Oxford. He noted he would have enough to pay off the young prospective bridegroom’s debts.
Rodney’s formal orders were to destroy the supply depots of St. Eustatius. Thereafter, he was to return north as soon as possible, to aid the British forces fighting the American Revolutionary armies. The admiral ignored those orders. Rodney was too busy looting and counting his profits.
After the hurricane, the Dutch Marines came to deliver urgently needed water and food. Van Putten insists though that the Marines will exterminate the entire population, like 70-75 years ago, during the Indonesian Independence War, when 150,000 freedom fighters, 5,000 Dutch UN-troops and 10,000 Chinese and Malaccans got killed. Van Putten does not see any difference between his poverty stricken island, no more than a little rock in the Caribbean sea, with as little as 3,500 people and no economy to speak off, and Indonesia with thousands of islands and hundred of millions inhabitants after 4 years of ruthless Japanese occupation.
Statia is urgently in need for a mental asylum for deranged politicians.
By Jacob Gelt Dekker
Columnist for Curaçao Chronicle