Friday, June 25, 2004

St. Maart: Don't send ex-cons our way!

Dutch Minister of Justice Hein Donner looks for ways to get rid of Antilleans who have been locked up in the Netherlands and stem the flow of new "immigrants" as much as possible. He has forwarded two proposals to achieve this to the permanent committee for Justice in Holland's parliament. The message these two proposals send is that Donner wishes to get rid of Antilleans period.

Ex-convicts who wish to go home but lack the means to pay for their ticket should be offered loans by the Government in Willemstad to do so. One cannot deny the minister a measure of ingenuity. The offer may well be taken up by a good number of people leaving prison. The lure of travelling home rather than returning to the "cold" streets of Holland might do the trick. The question how these people, who once they are back will have little choice other than joining the army of unemployed, will ever be able to pay back their loan is conveniently left up to the Antilles to cope with. What the return of convicts will do to Antillean society already faced with rising poverty and crime, is another question Donner chooses to ignore. Reports from several Caribbean countries subjected to policies of forced return of convicts currently used by the United States and Britain leave little doubt about the havoc they create in these societies.

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