If you are reading this column before the front page, it may just have saved you from falling for this year’s April Fool’s Joke. Yes, that is what the story headlined “Hidden ‘benefit’ found in vaccine” was.
This newspaper apologises for choosing such a serious, important yet sensitive subject, but to work well the joke must usually be both current and topical, which the current COVID-19 vaccination process certainly is. There is no intention whatsoever to contribute to misinformation already out there, merely to observe the time-honoured tradition of having a good annual laugh on this date. After all, what is life without some humour?
Not so funny was the reaction in today’s edition from the Employers Council to the much-discussed petition sent to the United Nations (UN) on behalf of Parliament. In their letter addressed to Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, with copies to the Council of Ministers, parliamentary faction leaders, Dutch representative in Philipsburg Chris Johnson and Governor Eugene Holiday, four organisations that represent a big part of St. Maarten’s private sector and its dominant hospitality industry – particularly in terms of jobs – have made crystal clear their strong objection to the course of action taken by 12 of the country’s 15 elected representatives.
Nine of these are part of the NA/UP governing coalition backing the Jacobs Cabinet and it seems high time they straightened this matter out on a political level, also because it threatens to quickly erode their own support base including many people and businesses already in need. This is no longer just an issue for the legislature, but a rather pressing one of national interest to the entire population and their leaders, including those in the executive branch of government.