'Do not fail our benefit of the doubt'
In the wake of the recent 'instructions' handed down by the Dutch Government to St. Maarten, the island experienced a crisis of major proportions, which could have had - and still can have far-reaching consequences for all within the Kingdom, as never before.
One thing became very clear to all, after the last elections and since the issued instructions.
The St. Maarten 'body politic' has lost about every bit of trust- and confidence – not only from the Dutch Government, but also from the majority of St. Martin people, residents and institutions on the island.
The response of politicians and their political 'operatives', to also call 'the Dutch kettle also Black' - meaning to level similar accusations of corruptions against Dutch politicians, also proved futile with the majority of people on the island.
It is very clear that, based on the track-record of our politicians, the 'Dutch' – and many others felt 'empowered' to slabel and to define 'everything- and everybody St. Maarten' as corrupt, incompetent and un-trustworthy.
Because this very negative reputation/label, also affected our young people, students and potential political leaders, who were not responsible for such, we took the initiative to bring them together in an effort to clear- and protect their own future careers, reputations - as well as to regain the trust, confidence and hope of our own people in a future St. Maarten.
The response to our call was incredibly positive and we had started preparing the first meeting.
However, with the setting up of a so-called Integrity Project Bureau, we are willing to postpone our initiative for the time being.
The main reason is that we appreciate the fact that our Government at least has decided to accept its own full responsibility for what happened in the past and the willingness to DEAL with such.
This in total contrast to having become engaged in non-constructive , ridiculous 'tit-for-tat' accusations- and in silly, opportunistic 'marches' against 'colonialism', simply aimed at winning over public support- and sympathy.
For taking this step, we are willing- to at least allow for this bureau to prove itself.
To be exact - that it will be managed and manned by independently minded professionals, who take an oath to uphold its commitment to contribute towards transparency, open Governance and to expose, report and sanction proven cases of corruption, nepotism, cronyism etc.
In addition, this Bureau should also be tasked with educating our young aspiring politicians in good governance for which they should be able to earn a certificate.
In fact - it should then be made mandatory for only thus certified persons to be able to hold public office.
With the abovementioned- and with other considerations in mind, the St. Martin Grassroots people Movement is prepared to put its plans for the training of the 'New Guard'- politicians, as was planned, on hold for the time being.
We sincerely hope, that this envisaged bureau does not make the very regrettable mistake of allowing for the same (integrity-) problems and the same corrupt politicians to return through some 'back door' to hold elected positions as ministers and/or as members of Parliament.
One person recently said on Facebook something actually to the effect of; 'It is to be hoped that the Bureau does not become the 'Banana that minds the monkey'....
In the meantime, the St. Martin Grassroots People Movement, will remain open to meet with all interested 'New- Guard' politicians in order to assist them in defining themselves and to make sure that their reputation and future careers are not 'contaminated' with the label of corruption, for which our politicians- and island in general have become infamous abroad.
We also express our willingness to work along with the newly established bureau and to commend it where possible, as well as to criticize it when deemed necessary as well.
In ending, while we have been and continue to be extremely watchful of our politicians, we hope that our record will also show, that we can humble ourselves, be fair and say – ' Integrity Project Bureau - a step in the right direction Bureau – but still a very long way to go'.
President St.Martin Grassroots People Movement