Criticism of Dutch soldiers on Sint Maarten "complete nonsense": Dutch commander, minister

Ronald Plasterk (Photo: Commons). (Ronald Plasterk (Photo: Commons))

Rob Verkerk, Commander of the Dutch Armed Forces, and Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs called critical statements by Sint Maarten Prime Minister William Marlin about Dutch soldiers on the island "complete nonsense". In an interview with NRC, Marlin said that Dutch soldiers did nothing to stop looting on the island after Hurricane Irma. 

"There was looting, the marines watched and did nothing", Marlin said, according to NRC.

"What complete nonsense", Verkerk said on Twitter. "My people acted properly within the limits of their capabilities from the beginning."

Minister Plasterk also denounced the criticism. "It's nonsense", Plasterk said to broadcaster NOS. "Dutch aid workers did a very good job, including in enforcement, while that was a task of the local police. If the Dutch had not been there, the humanitarian disaster would be much bigger." Plasterk added that he called Prime Minister Marlin on Sunday night, and he denied giving the interview with NRC. "Very strange, I won't comment further on this."

Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert also told NOS that the Dutch soldiers did excellent work on Sint Maarten.