Social cohesion

Social cohesion

Fiscal compliance is said to be notoriously low in St. Maarten, but that’s certainly not the only thing. Police stopping 254 vehicles with about half not passing inspection (see related story) once again confirms widespread traffic violations.

Most of 121 fines handed out among drivers of 235 cars and 19 scooters were for not wearing seatbelts and technical or legal issues with their vehicle. It’s hard to believe so many motorists would actually take a chance.

Respecting and obeying rules should be part of the way youngsters are raised and educated, just like knowing right from wrong and behaving accordingly. Parents, other relatives, siblings, church leaders as well as peers obviously play a big role, while children must be receptive to positive role models and their message too.

Society apparently needs to do a better job in that regard, judging by frequent cases of delinquent youths involved in local crime. The latter is also evident from the average age of the country’s prison population.

And this concerns more than law enforcement. For example, the main reason not to throw out or dump trash shouldn’t be that it’s forbidden, but rather because it hurts the environment and consequently everybody.

Developing a stronger sense of community ought to become a national priority at all levels. That the island has a relatively large number of foreigners may make achieving social cohesion a challenge, but hardly impossible with a concerted effort to promote better integration.


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