After 9 months of a new Parliament, I read about the DP faction's intention to lobby the opposition to investigate the contract between the St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies and Checkmate Security Company. While I am not sure how many MP's will have to go along with MP Sarah's idea for this investigation to actually happen ( the 5 in opposition??.. a majority of at least 8??.. or at least of 2/3 of Parliament, so 10??..), or HOW the investigation will take place (using the General Audit Chamber, or the use of a Parliamentary Enquiry), fact is that maybe, just maybe after these past 9 months, hope may still be alive and all was not for naught. Possibly, just possibly, there may be a glimmer of hope that the rumors and whispers about the fleecing of Government-owned companies will be given the attention that is needed. Maybe, just maybe, talk about outrageous salaries & benefits given to members of managements, members of Boards, not-too-shabby retainers to "insider/friendly" lawyers and other professionals, lucrative contracts to friends and family, stupid money being spent (such as moving Great Bay harbor sand to the Simpson Bay Lagoon, then watching it wash away into the lagoon), will at long last be looked into as Parliamentarians are supposed to do. These are all items that should be every tax payer's concern. If all companies and entities that have been established by and for Government would be run in an open, transparent and business-like manner and if these entities would truly endeavor to maximize profit-making, that would then in turn be paid to Government in the form of dividends and concession fees (instead of buying expensive automobiles for executives, handing out company credit cards with outrageous spending limits -if any- and having bloated payrolls), maybe, just maybe Government could get closer to balancing its budget every year. Government could then ensure that sufficient sums of money could be allocated AND paid out to market this tourist destination, that relies just about 100% on tourism. Is it at all possible that "dem tiefin" from us in broad daylight, while we have our eyes wide open, knowing what is happening? Do we care, or is it that some favored few amongst us (way too many in my opinion) are in some form or fashion benefitting from the corruption on all levels, so we do nothing more than grumble, while continuing our ranting & raving against "foreign" intervention? And oh yes, let us NOT even THINK about increasing the TOT again to solve Government's fiscal problems.... The last increase has properly "screwed up" the regular economy while boosting the underground business, causing the actual amount of TOT guilders collected by Government to fall way short of expectations, while GDP is up! The Dutch would say: "Ra ra, hoe kan dat"??? But I started by saying that "hope may still be alive". So open the books! Let in the light! Stop the double talk! Tell the tax payers WHAT is what, WHO gets what and WHY they get what!
Michael J. Ferrier