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Decolonising the Caribbean: Dutch Policies in a Comparative by Gert Oostindie, Inge Klinkers

By Gert Oostindie, Inge Klinkers

Oostindie and Klinkers upload intensity to the examine of post-World warfare II Caribbean decolonization with their comparative research of the previous Dutch colonies of Surinam, the Netherlands Antilles, and Aruba. Their certain research of Dutch decolonization rules of the Forties disguise such matters because the political techniques of decolonization, improvement relief, the Dutch Caribbean exodus to the city, and cultural antagonisms. placing those matters inside a bigger context, the authors skillfully distinction the decolonization technique of Dutch Caribbean states with the present guidelines pursued within the non-sovereign Caribbean by way of France, the Netherlands, the uk, and the USA.

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22 Although the dom were to resemble the mainland departments to the largest extent possible, in actual practice considerable differences, particularly in the field of social security, would persist. Also the competences of the dom Prefects remained more extensive than those of their metropolitan counterparts. Although the Constitution permits territoires d’outre-mer to secede or become départements, it remained unspecified whether the departments themselves could change their status. The apparent conclusion is that for the dom the right to political self-determination is not an option since this would imply that each department could make this claim.

1 Despite these varying political philosophies, there are certain parallels to be drawn on the outcome of the French and British decolonisation policies: France and the United Kingdom have both seen their early colonial possessions in the Caribbean become almost the last vestiges of their once global colonial empires. Thus France is also back where it first began. In addition, just as the British Commonwealth is founded primarily on a ‘bond of sentiment’ – in which the member states feel united by a sense of solidarity personified in the British monarch – French decolonisation in the Caribbean, maintained since 1946 through départementalisation, was initially inspired by the affinity between France and its colonies.

Losing French protection to an increasing extent, the uncompetitive Antillean agrarian sector has suffered tremendously in the free market. Within the present construction defined by high subsidies, wages and benefits, it is unlikely that the dom will ever function competitively. The dom’s European orientation too appears to leave virtually no room for them to play a regional role, with at present only five per cent of trade being regional. 44 Again, a reason for frustration. 46 Recent surveys in Martinique disclosed that 52 per cent thought of the dom status as ‘rather positive’, and 26 per cent ‘very positive’.

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