Caribbean politician threatens to murder, burn Dutch soldiers

Dutch marines deliver emergency relief to Dominica after Hurricane Maria, 25 Sept 2017
Dutch marines deliver emergency relief to Dominica after Hurricane Maria, 25 Sept 2017Photo: @kon_marine / Twitter

Clyde van Putten, leader of political party PLP on the Dutch island of Sint Eustatius, threatened to kill and and burn Dutch soldiers in a speech he made on the island. The Dutch government is going to file a declaration with the police against him, Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations announced, the Telegraaf reports

According to the newspaper, Van Putten has been fighting for more autonomy for Sint Eustatius and less of what he calls Netherlands "colonialism" for some time. In the speech, he said that he recently talked to a Dutch Minister and told him that if he sends Dutch soldiers to the island, he must be prepared for the consequences. "Because if you bring the military, we will kill them and we will burn them in the streets of Sint Eustatius", he said, according to a video clip of the speech the Telegraaf has on its website.

Exactly which Minister Van Putten claims he talked to, is unclear. Though the most likely candidate is Minister Plasterk of Kingdom Relations. It is also not clear whether he is talking about Dutch soldiers sent to the island to provide relief and help with rebuilding and cleanup after hurricanes Irma and Maria. 

Dutch parliamentarians are shocked by the speech. According to VVD parliamentarian Andre Bosman, it's "shameful and punishable in my opinion". He expects that the government will file charges against this politician. "It is not only threat but also the undermining of the state and blackmail. And that from a man who is only focused on himself and his own power, instead of the well-being of the population."

SP MP Ronald van Raak submitted parliamentary questions about the matter, he said to the newspaper. He wants to know when Van Putten spoke to a Dutch Minister. He also wants to know whether there are currently Dutch soldiers on Sint Eustatius providing emergency relief, and whether they are safe. "Do you share the concerns of the people on Sint Eustatius who are happy with the help and support from the European Netherlands? Can you reassure those compatriots that the government will not be blackmailed by local politicians who threaten violence?" Van Raak wants to know from Plasterk. 

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