St. Martin News Network

Jul 28th
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Dear Editor,
In this opinion letter I would like to touch on the "care" part of medical health care. We can divide medical health care in two categories: cure and care. The cure part is when you need treatment and/or medicine to get better. The care part is when there is no outlook for cure, but that persons still need treatment and/or medicine to prevent from their situation worsening or to simply increase their quality of life by creating an environment or using tools that eliminates the impact of their physical incapability or illness as much as possible.
The "care" in our medical health care is covered by the AVBZ. The AVBZ is regulated via several National Ordinances and the AVBZ fund is being managed by the SZV as well as the execution of several AVBZ related activities. The AVBZ is covering the medical care that regular insurance companies don't cover. I have an opinion about our health care system and the execution thereof when it comes to cure (not so much on the coverage, but on the system). I will elaborate on that in another opinion letter.
During this election time I hardly heard anything about the care of our elderly, the financing of our mental health institutions and additional legislation needed in that sector, accessibility to buildings and other infrastructure for our disabled persons, education and care for our disabled children or mentally challenged children, etc. Do the parties and candidates realize how many lives are touched daily by this topic? Parents suffering from Alzheimer's, the inaccessibility of buildings and roads for our disabled (no elevators in buildings for people that are less mobile on foot, no ramps for wheelchairs, no proper sidewalks accessible for wheelchairs or our visual handicapped, family members or neighbors suffering from mental illness (or as we saw in recent incidents: any member of society). I can go on and on.
I would like to hear from candidates how they are planning to address the legislation and financing surrounding the AVBZ and what they are planning to do with our current infrastructure (they can surely start with making our government offices more accessible). I will not even begin with a list where there is room for improvement. I would like the parties and candidates to get away from the rhetoric and hollow phrases. Tell me what you are going to do in this area that touches so many of us. I told you. The candidates need to work hard to get my vote and I want them to work even harder when they are getting "in there".

Andrew Smith

Last Updated ( Sunday, 27 July 2014 12:26 )


UP/NA/DP/NRP/UP/US and OSPP – put your money where your mouth is.

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'Help promote boxing sport for the youth'.

Over the weekend, a group of St. Martiners were chilling out, while having nice discussions on a number of situations on the island. When I joined them, they were just talking about how during political campaigns, many candidates try to outdo each other in proving how they care for the youth of the country.
As usual, once in office, of course they forget about the youth until the next election cycle. One of the persons present during the chat, was my good friend and former St. Martin boxing champion, Albert Adams, better known by his boxing name 'Jesse Torres'. When Jesse explained to us, what he has been doing, 'prodeo' for the youth for years, it really touched all of us. Jesse, with very limited means, along with Marcia Cook, of Marcia's Mega Gym in Simpson-bay, dedicates so much of his time, energy and limited personal funds to train young people the art of boxing.
Marcia continues to make significant contribution as well by making a boxing ring and a youth program available to youngsters. However, many more young people would participate if their parents were financially able to do so. Nevertheless, Jesse with the great help of Marcia continues helping young people to achieve a career in boxing and in the process also helps to keep them off the streets, very disciplined and out of trouble. Over the years, Jesse has trained a number of young men to become successful boxers. One of them is a cousin of mine Sydney Maccow. Sydney thus-far, has had a very impressive career, during which he also won a championship in Barbados and participated in the Golden Gloves Tournament in the USA. Recently he turned pro.
While, he now resides in the USA, he is expected to have his first professional fight,right here on St. Maarten on Saturday, August 2, at the Auditorium in Great-Bay. Needless to say that this fight could generate a lot of international attention and could draw and inspire many young St. Maarteners as well to the sport and to sports in general.
I would like to call upon the community in general and on all politicians vying for political office in particular, to put their money, where their mouths are, and to make use of this opportunity to come to the assistance of Jesse. They should provide Jesse and Marciawith every possible and needed equipment really do something special for those young boys and girls, interested in the sports of boxing and boxing related aspects as well.
To me, it is a shame that not only is Jesse putting lots of time in training and disciplining his pupils, he uses his old car to transport them as well, without any compensation.
With so many car-dealers on the island, making lots of money, there is no reason in the world, one of them could not provide a mini-bus for transportation, put your advertisement on it, nothing wrong with that.
And, why again for our children, wouldn't a fuel company, not donate a monthly amount of gasoline for this vehicle? With the publicity the upcoming boxing event will generate, this is the perfect opportunity for our Government, politicians, business people to show the world, that they care for our young people.
I hope also, that the talkshow-hosts will invite Jesse and Marcia, for more information on what he has been doing for our young people and to find out how the community can assist.
Marcia's Mega Gym is located in Simpson-bay above in the building, where Tri-Sports is also situated.
Be assured that I will keep the public up to date, especially as far as the interest shown by the political parties, spending millions on bill-boards, banners, expensive commercials etc. – only to get your vote.

Leopold James

Last Updated ( Sunday, 27 July 2014 17:52 )

Open Government.

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Dear editor,

The perception of the "power of the politician" in St. Maarten stems from the notion to "grant" privileges and benefits to preferred voters and vice versa. For that reason, many believe that politicians are not in favor of transparency. As a youngster, involved with many different youth organizations, I was always told the importance of transparency. For this reason I have decided to champion the cause "Open Government".

At some point, most of you have read or heard via the media by many candidates that they stand for "integrity"; but do they really understand the meaning of the word integrity? By definition integrity means: "the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles". The expectation of the voters of St. Maarten when electing a political party to power is based on the principle that the elected will serve its country and all its people with respect and courteousness (integrity); as well as an "Open Government", one that is transparent.

By having an "Open Government" that is transparent to the community, allows opportunity for all its citizens to become involved in helping with the development as they too should have a say of the country. As a "motto", I always believed that "the people deserve to know". By informing the people, we eliminate the illusion of "political power" that is believed to be miss-used by elected officials to blind or keep voters in the dark.

With an "Open Government" the citizens will have the right to access certain documents and proceedings of the Government which allow for effective public oversight. As public officials we have a responsibility to ensure that Government regulations, policies and procedures are as clear as possible to its constituents, withholding nothing.

There are often complaints and criticism regarding the process/procedures of handling certain government affairs: for example the acquiring of a government land, building permit, business license, work permit etc. The concerns are the lack of information available to the public, which leads to frustration. I myself is no exception of the frustration that is caused by the lack of information and more so the back and forth from one department to the next and still did not receive the assistance needed.

As a champion for "Open Government", if elected, I will do my utmost to ensure that there is transparency within the new governing party.

Gerard M.C. Richardson
DP candidate # 10

Last Updated ( Thursday, 24 July 2014 20:52 )