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The ascendancy of Christopher Emmanuel.

I am a civil servant. I asked that my name not be published with this letter. We all know how the world is especially in a small community. So it is better for me to not publish my name. I do not think that this would take away from what I have to say to the citizens of St.Maarten. I do not know when we ever had a politician speak so plain and passionate for his people. Christopher Emmanuel has really grown into a true voice of the people. He has gone from the bulldog of the National Alliance to a true leader who seems to know that this is his time. It does not matter how you feel or what you feel about the man. The man is for his people FIRST. He is not afraid. He is consistent. And he is not lying to us. He has not been wrong about anything he has warned us about. To me his ascendance is just on time as SXM needs people who just tell the truth. We do not need politicians with their smooth and fancy words that makes everything sound like a lie because you can change those words to fit your situation. He doesn't make us feel stupid or less than himself. You cannot change the words of Mr. Emmanuel. He is plain-spoken. What you see is what you get and with competence. He has clearly been doing his homework lately and we like that. He is saying what we are saying at the job every day. I am sure it is not just civil servants either. He is a politician in the opposition so we can expect some drama to his personality. This does not mean he is wrong or not right about the issues we care about. What would the Parliament be without Mr. Emmanuel being the only voice in there for us? Ok, some people might say there are others for us. But if they are they are invisible or mute and just running in a straight party-line as usual. SXM needs people with conviction and courage to say ok enough! This is what my people need and this is what we going to do. No long talk. Done. Thank you, Mr. Emmanuel. Keep up the fight!
Thank you for printing this note without my name.
God bless SXM!


DEMOCRACY NEEDS OUR CARE

Following the news of the U.S. Capitol riot, and talking to people I’ve met since then in Curacao and Aruba, it seems to me that a great many others reacted as I did. We were shocked by those images, and deeply concerned with what has happened to democracy in America.

One lesson I’ve learned from these recent events in my country is that we must never take democracy for granted. Democracy is not an immovable, indestructible rock; it is a living thing that needs our constant scare and attention.

For its roots to be healthy, democracy needs to be grounded in the truth.

To learn the truth we need a free and vibrant press, to seek out the facts and present them without fear. We need to respect others’ opinions and accept that our own is not the only valid point of view. But opinions are not facts and we need to know the difference. We need to beware of efforts to mislead us, and not take as fact everything we read or hear, even if it happens to agree with our opinion.

To grow straight and strong, democracy needs respect for the rule of law, and for the separation of government powers.

Democracy allows protest as a legitimate form of seeking change but it is most effective when done peacefully. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose memory we celebrated earlier this week, never gave up on his hope for a democracy. He never gave up on his country and he never gave up on peace despite the beatings, lynchings, and violence he witnessed.

In order to survive, democracy needs a judicial branch which is fully independent, and judges who earn their position by virtue of a mastery of the laws, not adherence to a party line. Fortunately, we saw examples of this independent judiciary in the repeated affirmations in our courts that the results of the November elections were sound.

To survive, democracy also needs a legislative branch that will rise above partisan politics to provide reliable checks and balances to the power of the President. We have seen some examples of this as well in recent days. After the Capitol riot, a freshman Republican Congressman from Michigan called for accountability. He explained that he was crossing party lines to vote for impeachment after January 6 as "a call to action for us to reflect on these events and seek ways to correct them.” Several of his fellow party members joined him.

I was moved by the actions rather than words of another Congressman, a Democrat from New Jersey. After fulfilling his Constitutional duty and voting to certify the presidential election on the night of the riot, he emerged from the House chamber. Appalled at the vandalism he had witnessed at the Capitol that day and the wreckage it had left, he immediately picked up a trash bag and started cleaning up the garbage on the floor of those historic halls. The People’s halls.

And the most importantly, we the people all have a duty ourselves to care for and sustain this precious experiment of humanity called democracy. We as individuals need to stop and think what we can do – inform ourselves, vote responsibly, and translate our care for democracy into action in our own way, in our homes and communities. This work is urgent and enormous, but I want to be a part of it.

Since arriving in Curacao I’ve been enjoying learning Papiamentu. During my studies I discovered the wonderful haiku of Elis Juliana. Reading them, and thinking over the situation in America, I was inspired to try writing one. At the risk of exposing my poor skills - I have a long way to go, I know - I wanted to share the following with you:

Demokrasia
No ta baranka firme
Ta palu bibu.

 

Remie Willem J. US Consulate.

 

What is Happening to the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation?

Dear Editor,

I have been a proud frequent visitor to the island for more than 30 years. I have seen the island’s nature change significantly in those 30 years, mostly with negative results. But over the past years, regardless of that development, I was always happy to see that there is an organization that looks after Nature on the Island.
That is why I was so disappointed that the ongoing sewage issue caused by a marina at my residence in the Simpson Bay Yacht Club was not addressed at all by the Nature Foundation. From what I have been told when the Nature Foundation inspector arrived he did so wearing a uniform from the same Marina that was causing the issue in the first place. I also learned that another staff member of the Nature Foundation works for another marine. This makes me wonder how effective the Nature Foundation can be in working for nature. Is it also true that the Nature Foundation inspectors agreed to sand dumping in Point Blanch?
Sint Maarten Nature is in danger and the only foundation I can see working for it is the Nature Foundation so that is why I am so concerned about the situation with the Nature Foundation. Please I urge the Nature Foundation not to allow Sint Maarten to be destroyed. We were not able to come to the island last year because of Covid and we have noticed in one year many bad changes to the nature of Sint Maarten and we are worried as, long time visitors. Please help save nature on Sint Maarten.

Mrs. Annetta T Pendarvis

Unfair incarceration.

Dear Editor,

The practice of locking people up for questioning has got to stop. Taking innocent people out of their beds at all hours and locking them up is inhumane and should be unlawful. Everyone is presumed innocent and by locking someone up you have already assumed the person guilty and have executed a partial sentence. We are not living under some dictatorship or other tyrannical government system where someone must prove their innocence.
A case in point is the recent exoneration of an Honorable MP who suffered the indignation of being ripped from the arms of his loved one, incarcerated for questioning only to be released and later acquitted of all charges after a judge ruled that he was merely doing his job. Who is going to restore this gentleman’s honor and remove the tainting from his name that was branded on his reputation? How are they going to compensate this man for the trauma he suffered from being deprived of his freedom, chained, and caged like a wild beast?
I agree that suspects of crimes must be questioned but innocent people cannot be locked up on mere suspicions. That is too wide a brush. When someone is incarcerated, they should have been convicted of a crime, not suspected of one. Any questioning that must be done should be completed by either questioning at the suspect's house or Police Station, but no one should be dragged out of their bed and held for questioning under the pretext that they might collude with other suspects or hide evidence.
Unless the suspect is caught with the proverbial smoking gun in his/her hand, witnessed in the act of committing a crime, or perceived to be an imminent danger to themselves or others, no one should be deprived of their freedom.

 

Author name withheld upon request.

A LESSON FOR ZVK AND MINISTER HUGO DE JONGE

Dear Editor,

Hugo de Jonge as Dutch Health Minister needs to review the way responsible care is delivered by his civil servants from the ZVK (Care Insurance Office) on St. Eustatius and Bonaire. As a recent patient in need of support from these offices, I was treated with a lack of empathy, flexibility, and communication skills.

Diagnosed with acute appendicitis, I was faced by a life or death situation. The St. Eustatius hospital – with the immediate consent of my Dutch insurance company - swiftly organized an air ambulance bound for Bonaire and an urgent medical operation.

When it came to my return to St. Eustatius, it was suggested to me by several knowledgeable people on St. Eustatius and Bonaire to contact ZVK. It was a reasonable proposition. The ZVK operates two direct medical flights per week between the two islands and as a Dutch pensioner, resident, and taxpayer, I thought it would not be unreasonable to ask for this service paid for by taxpayers’ money. Furthermore, I was prepared to pay for a seat on one of their sizeable planes.

Previous non-ZVK patients were granted this favor. Why not me?

“No!” came back the email from a dispassionate officer inside the ZVK Kralendijk office. This bleeped response was not accompanied by any explanation or sensitivity for my situation.

I then turned to the crisis management “adviser” on Statia whose typical civil service advice was to ignore my crisis and deflect the problem higher up the chain to the Ministerial Czarina for the ZVK on Statia.

And now the crunch: “I am not involved with individual cases,” this unfeeling and dismissive Dutch Mandarin informed me.

So much for responsible care! Instead of a two-hour flight to recuperate at home on the Historical Gem, I was obliged to spend a painful two-week journey back via Curacao and St. Maarten with all the inconvenience of infrequent flights, Covid tests, hotel, and restaurant bills not to mention eventual quarantine.

Given that Hugo de Jonge is a Christian Democrat, I am tempted to exclaim: Jesus wept! However, choppy meteorology discounted a walking back to Statia on water

This is not the first time that the ZVK has been criticized for lack of responsible care and false economy. Over the years, the ZVK has squandered many millions on delaying the return of many Statia patients treated in Colombia and other medical destinations - if only to save a few nickels on cheaper flight tickets. Some patients have nearly expired before repatriation.

My lesson for ZVK and its Minister de Jonge is to rely on personnel who are prepared to listen, care, and respond accordingly. The skies of Statia are punctured by parachuted administrators from the mainland whose talents, experience, and qualifications are rarely pre-checked even at the highest levels.

As a Dutch taxpayer, I expect the State to work at the service of the individual and not the reverse. I shall take this matter further since it displays a complete lack of flexibility, communication skills, and more importantly responsible care.

Chris Russell

 

 


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