Friday’s front page headline “Youngsters stealing beach bags, personal items on Boardwalk” understandably sparked some concern. Just about the last thing the country needs while still recovering from the COVID-19 crisis is for thieves to target the very visitors that drive its tourism economy.
Thankfully, a suspect was arrested, but there are likely more. Especially sea-bathers tend to be vulnerable when they leave personal belongings onshore.
This apparently involves minors. However, that is certainly no reason for authorities to go easy on them, considering the potentially far-reaching and widespread negative consequences of their ill-advised actions.
At such a young age, one wonders whether the parents and other relatives have no idea what is going on. As police pointed out, they are the last line of defence but need the entire community’s assistance to keep streets safe.
The same edition of the newspaper carried a story that pupil-tracking and lifestyle intervention will start at Foundation Catholic Education St. Maarten. It regards a so-called BLOC test and sponsorship of Stichting EGO with Dutch funding via R4CR.
The main issue is healthy schools, but in addition to the physical part, mental aspects obviously play a role. Important is to ensure students are still given enough space to experience life and develop on their own, because the goal cannot be to educate robots.
Nevertheless, based on specific data, better and timelier guidance could hopefully be provided where needed to help prevent dropouts, youth delinquency, etcetera. It probably won’t solve these problems, but every individual case counts.
What is now happening at Great Bay Beach may occur elsewhere too and must be nipped in the bud. The destination has always been known as one where guests can freely move around without major security worries.
Make no mistake, being called the “Friendly Island” remains an invaluable asset. Jeopardising that reputation is not something to which anyone should turn a blind eye.