Dutch government to run ‘lawless’ Caribbean isle

Administration of the Caribbean island of Sint Eustatius, with just over 3,000 residents and situated in the Leeward Islands chain east of Puerto Rico, has been a source of concern to the Dutch government for some time. (luchtfoto)
Updated 05 February 2018

Dutch government to run ‘lawless’ Caribbean isle

THE HAGUE: The Dutch government said Monday it will take over the running of one of its Caribbean island municipalities, denouncing “physical neglect” and “lawlessness” on Sint Eustatius.
The island’s ruling council will be immediately dissolved with Dutch Interior Minister Raymond Knops traveling there this week to explain the decision to residents.
“The current administrative situation is one of lawlessness and financial mismanagement,” the interior ministry said.
“Discrimination, intimidation, threats and insults and personal enrichment flourish at the expense of the people of Sint Eustatius,” a statement issued in The Hague said.
Mismanagement “has had a serious effect on the running of the island and the daily lives of the population of Sint Eustatius,” the ministry said, adding “the island has been physically neglected.”
New polls to elect an island council will be held once Sint Eustatius is able to properly run itself.
Administration of the tiny island municipality with just over 3,000 residents, situated in the Leeward Islands chain east of Puerto Rico “has been a source of concern for a while,” the statement said.
“Previous measures to improve the situation have failed,” it added, pointing to a report by a two-person commission set up in May to investigate.
The commission recommended an intervention by the Dutch government, a move supported by the Dutch State Council — The Netherlands’ highest court which also advises the government on state matters.
But the commission also slapped the Dutch government, saying it had allowed relations to deteriorate, while projects to improve roads, water supply, homes and waste disposal had dragged.
The move comes less than a month before the Dutch part of the nearby island of Saint Martin is to hold new elections after a row with The Netherlands over aid in the wake of Hurricane Irma forced a previous premier to resign.
Irma barrelled through the eastern Caribbean destroying swathes of Sint Maarten, as it is called in Dutch, as well as Sint Eustatius, Bonaire and Saba.
Sint Eustatius, together with islands of Bonaire and Saba form “special municipalities” within the Kingdom of the Netherlands which is responsible for its public administration.

“We were all outraged,” says Arab owner of store at center of US protest firestorm

Updated 31 May 2020

“We were all outraged,” says Arab owner of store at center of US protest firestorm

  • Troops can go in ’very quickly,’ Trump says

CHICAGO: The firestorm of protest, arson and looting that has consumed the US for five days began at the counter of an Arab American grocery store.

Staff working for Mahmoud Abumayyaleh, the owner of Cup Foods, called Minneapolis police after George Floyd, 46, twice tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill to make a purchase.

Officers who arrested Floyd held him to the ground with a knee on his neck, as he pleaded that he could not breathe. He lost consciousness and died later in hospital. One officer has been charged with third-degree murder and further charges are expected.

“What took place outside … was not in our hands,” Abumayyaleh told US TV. “The murder and execution was something done by the police, and it was an abuse of power. The police brutality needs to stop.”

Abumayyaleh said he knew Floyd as a customer, and as someone who was always pleasant. He did not find out until the following morning that the man had died. “We were all outraged,” he said, and Floyd “may not have even known that the bill was counterfeit.”

The store owner and his sons, Samir, Adam and Mahmoud, have gone into hiding in the face of a wave of threats against them on social media. They took down their store’s Facebook page and its landline phone has been disconnected.

Minneapolis has more than 50 Arab- and Muslim-owned stores mostly north of where the incident occurred, all operating under statewide COVID-19 restrictions. Arab store owners said they feared speaking out publicly about the incident.

An unidentified man who answered the phone at one Arab-owned store told Arab News that both the killing of Floyd and vandalism against businesses “is wrong.”

Since Floyd died last Tuesday, protesters have vandalized, looted and burned down more than 200 stores in Minneapolis. On Friday and Saturday, the violence spread to New York, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Houston, Atlanta and Charlotte North Carolina.

In Minnesota, protesters maintained a daily vigil in front of the Cup Foods store at 3759 Chicago Avenue, painting walls and the street with murals and graffiti in memory of Floyd. After four nights of confrontations in the city, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz activated the state’s national guard on Saturday for the first time since the Second World War.

US President Donald Trump said troops could be deployed if local authorities requested their help. “We could have our military there very quickly,” he said.