In The Spotlight
Twice there has been a semblance of transparency of government within days. What is happening?
M.C.W. Haynes wrote to you concerning taking children into consideration when setting up immigration policies on both Dutch and French side of the island. I believe what Minister Lee confirmed concerning those 3,000 undocumented persons who are on the SZV list is part of the problem of Haynes’s concern. This is how I look at it.
Three thousand undocumented but on SZV list, there is a strong possibility of their children being born here (my average 1,500 children); and because of compulsory education 1,500 children with a problematic immigration status. Could this also contribute to the financial burden – CFT?
Next, GEBE has been paying NAf. 1,500,000 since 2012 to Seven Seas without getting anything in return for it. I grew up in Aruba seeing water tanks on the few hills that are there and at that time we were already told that those tanks were put there in case of emergency. Being on the hills gravity would help with the pressure to reach areas the furthest from the water plant.
Knowing the deceased Julius Lambert from school and remembering those water tanks, I brought up that point to him many years ago. The topographical layout of St. Maarten would be ideal for reserve water tanks or for the real reason for my suggestion, catch rainwater in those tanks, filter it and distribute it with the help of gravity. All this would reduce the price of water and that dreaded word “brandstof clausule” or “fuel clause.”
It never happened and even more bizarre some Minister did something unheard of…that Minister signed a contract which is “water tight.” That is like getting away with murder, because RST is going after persons who have defrauded government of far less than that. Now it seems like nothing can be done concerning the fact that government will still have to pay a million and a half guilders yearly for the next four years to Seven Seas and associates, for getting nothing in return.
If you are wondering why I insist on mentioning “for getting nothing in return” that is because that water cannot be expended. This reminded me of my suggestion of many years ago. Over the years new laws have been added to the law books because of criminal deeds that were not absorbed in the law. I believe what is being done here with the people’s money is some kind of criminal manipulation and government should not leave this go untouched.
There are many different, positive ways for which that money can be used. For the youth, after school programmes, sports etc. If not build a water park, but Seven Seas should not continue to get that kind of money just because of a strange contract. Could this be considered lack of integrity? Questions – what is the cost to build a water tank? What did CFT approve for 2018?
By the way, I was explained that sending our recruits to the Police Academy in Curaçao is not possible right now.
Russell A. Simmons
I have never had a boyfriend but there is this guy in my class that I like and I think he is interested in me too but I don’t know what to do about it.
Queenie, do I let him know how I feel or keep it a secret and hope he makes the first move?—Inexperienced
Talk to him when you get a chance, maybe eat lunch with him, ask his advice about your homework or some subject of mutual interest and see if you get to be friends with him. If that happens, keep it up and see if it develops into something more. But do not chase him too hard, or you might scare him off.
Plato and Socrates, ancient scholars of democracy and democratic systems, would be puzzled by the system of democracy employed in the Dutch Kingdom. More contemporary scholars like Montesquieu and Richelieu renowned for their Egalite, Liberte and Fraternite will be totally flabbergasted to learn that a European power whose elected officials do not campaign or seek a vote in the overseas territories, or allow citizens of these territories to vote in their elections, have so much input in what happens in the daily running of the overseas territories. Lest I forget the colonial master also does not contribute to the budgets of the territories.
Some friends and I were wondering aloud why nothing is being said on this side of the Atlantic about the amount of time it is taken to form a government since the March elections. In our case every time we are called upon to form a government, be it by election or so-called ship jumping, we get interference from across the pond. We are accused of everything shady and nefarious; if we are not buying out people, we are letting the underworld influence our government.
In the past we were also informed that certain locals (Theo Heyliger and Roland Duncan) could not be part of any cabinet. In other words, irrespective of what the people decided at the polls “we don’t care we are mighty and might is right.” These same people proclaim to the world that the overseas territories are autonomous and they only provide nationality, foreign affairs and defence on their behalf.
Truth be told, they are most prevalent in all parts of our daily lives. So we find it strange and even mind boggling that no one on this side finds anything strange with the length of time it is taking them to form a government in which we are interested for they also impact our lives.
We are also concerned when we hear that a discussion of changes to the euthanasia law caused another delay or that failure to raise the pay of school teachers might further frustrate things. We ask ourselves why should we not think or suggest that they too are in shady and nefarious deals that may not be in our favour. Strangely enough the outgoing Minister of Kingdom Affairs thought it important to visit the islands to bid his farewell, but according to the Antilleans Dagblad, also to feel the pulse of the local leaders on their feelings on a deferred motion by van Raak and Bosman to seek advice and guidance from the UN to have the UN escort us out of the kingdom.
From the press conference nothing was said about that part, what we heard was how good things go when we cooperate, or put differently, when we do as we are told. The good minister also did not give any information on a proposal from parliament to withdraw the military ships stationed in the Caribbean and post them in the Mediterranean for immigration control. This mind you is while we are ask to pay a huge sum for the services and in St. Maarten case unjustly so, for we have no maritime economic zone our maritime boundaries extend between three and four miles east because of St. Barths, and to the south and west the same because of Saba and French St. Martin.
The ugly dispute with the French republic reared its ugly head yet again so more proof that we need this government to be formed post haste to deal with the Oyster Pond boundary issue. Coalitions take time; every party has its pledges and promises to their constituents, there are varying priorities and pet projects and if it takes Holland six or more months doesn’t mean that for our size we should take less. Size does not and should not determine the importance of issues for a people, however, varying the demographics may be. So, may I suggest that we let our voices be heard without fear, for thus far the silence is deafening.
If for sixty odd years the new police recruits in the Netherlands Antilles were trained and schooled in the Police academy on Curaçao; if over the years many many crimes nationally as well as internationally were successfully solved by those same police of the Netherlands Antilles; if in the Kingdom of the Netherlands justice has always remained kingdom affairs; if we continue to proclaim if it is not broken don’t try to fix it, then why have we messed with the police recruits training. I have always said it and will always maintain that politics has no place in a police force. Politics should never be incorporated in police affairs.
Where am I going with this. I was called and told that what I always said is coming to pass. Government is bringing twenty police officers from Suriname to mentor the police here because of the incompetence of the local police. I could not believe that it was said that way and could not discuss it further because of load shedding and the battery of my phone ran down. Which in a sense was good also. I did not really say much about reinforcement, but I always said in Papiamento, “Pa Antillas, polis bo ta bira na Corsow.” (Police for the Antilles are made in Curaçao”).
What I have also said is that the young men and women from the Windward Islands should spend at least two years working on Curaçao before coming back home. They need the experience and the seasoning. The nucleus of the population of St. Maarten and the lack of sense of decorum is not conducive and may even be prejudicial for a police school on St. Maarten. To go along with that, reinforcement from Holland or Suriname has not proven to be successful because of, sad to say, people having their own agenda and not having St. Maarten sufficiently at heart to maintain law and order as it should be maintained.
When you care about something you take care of it. If it is not yours that’s a different story. Most of all if government does not show any good example, those who have to maintain law and order go about it accordingly and the attitude even becomes if they don’t care, why should I.
The person who called me knew that in 2005 the then prosecutor asked me to stay on and help him with the written fines because too many of them lacked the correct description and the essentials of the act. I told him that I would do better in a place (police station) where I could discuss with the younger police officers what happened during their patrol and assist them with compiling their reports. That would ensure that those written fines reach his desk complete and in order.
From then already the establishment knew that the quality of the force was at risk. If now our government is looking for reinforcement for that reason that would indicate to me that all that was done before has failed. Send our recruits to Curaçao. This is not placing bus stops, this is assuring the community of adequate protection when necessary.
I’m a bit confused. Our laws are in Dutch and we are asking Holland and Suriname, who’s official language is also Dutch, to reinforce and mentor our policemen, but we are urging our government to make English the language of instruction.
Russell A. Simmons
I know my girlfriend dated other guys before me and thinking about what she did with them bothers me, but when I try to talk to her about it she gets upset. I’m trying not to think about it, but I just can’t get the thoughts out of my mind.
Queenie, am I wrong to be bothered about this?—Uptight
You are not wrong to be bothered by the idea, but it is a big mistake to keep trying to talk to your girlfriend about it. How would you like it if she kept bringing up the subject of your previous girlfriends?
Let the subject go, and if you have trouble doing so, talk to a professional counsellor about it, not your girlfriend.
It is hard to believe that the Minister of VROMI gave his blessing for Jansen to become technical director at SMHDF, when this same Minister was complaining a couple of months ago that the Supervisory Board was not functioning and that he wanted the whole board to resign. What happened that he changed his mind now?
My mother always complains that she does not receive thank-you notes from my children when she gives them gifts, but never once have we received such a note from her when we gave her anything or did something for her.
Queenie, shouldn’t she be setting a good example before she complains?—Thank-you Etty Ket
Dear Etty Ket,
Of course she should! You might point this out to her then next time she complains (for whatever good it will do). Meanwhile, make sure you are setting the good example she is not, and keep after your children to do what is right no matter how Grandma behaves.
At the end of every school year, students are evaluated and promoted or not promoted based on their performance during the year. Conversely, at the end of a parliamentary year, Members of Parliament are not evaluated, yet they continue in parliament without anyone questioning their achievements, their performance or their competency to function as a parliamentarian.
I have observed that in several countries around the world, political and interest groups are developing report cards for parliamentarians. The idea behind the report card is to provide the public, especially the voters, with information about the performance of a parliamentarian so that at the next election, voters can make an informed decision about who is best suited to represent them in parliament, based on their performance during the past years.
I sincerely hope that MP Ardwell Iron’s proposal to report on how Members of Parliament voted during a parliamentary year will be included in the 2016-2017 Parliamentary Report. If included, it will give the public additional information as to how our MPs are functioning.
SMCP is developing a parliamentarian report card that will comprise the following benchmarks: attendance, participation, representation, supervision, legislation and interaction. These six benchmarks are derived from the job description of a parliamentarian that, according to our Constitution, consists of three main functions: representation (art. 44), legislation (art. 82, 85, 86) and supervision (art. 62, 63, 64). Since the people (voters) placed their trust in a parliamentarian by electing him/her to office, it goes without saying that they should know how their parliamentarian is functioning. Therefore, let us look at these benchmarks and explain briefly what each one entails.
Attendance at meetings is the most obvious and objective benchmark. It includes the attendance at the plenary sessions of parliament, and at the meetings of the central committee. All MPs are required to attend these two meetings. In addition, we will also include the attendance at the permanent and ad hoc committees, which is a requirement for the members of these committees, but is voluntary for the other parliamentarians.
It seems as if parliamentarians do not realize that the greater part of their work occurs in the small or standing committees. These committees are therefore the backbone of parliament. In a press conference given the first week of January 2017, President of Parliament, MP Sarah Wescot-Williams told the press, “The work of Parliament is being slowed down due to the lack of activity by the parliamentary committees”. In other words, she is saying these committees are not functioning.
Parliamentary Committees do the groundwork for the Central Committee. They research and investigate issues and laws then make recommendations to the Central Committee, which in turn will eventually approve these recommendations, and send them to the plenary session of parliament. In addition, most of the oversight work by parliament ought to be done in the standing committees.
There is where the chair and members review the policies and the decisions of a minister or the government, as well as investigate reports, complaints and problems related to a ministry or the government. Further, there is where questions directed to a minister or the government ought to be formulated and the answers reviewed for depth, thoroughness and accuracy.
Sadly, previous Annual Parliamentary Reports and observations during the current parliamentary year show that the standing committees hardly ever meet. During 2016-2017, twelve standing committees were installed, but as far as we know, only two of these committees actually held meetings, namely the Ad Hoc Integrity Committee and the Petitions Committee. The remaining committees have remained dormant throughout the parliamentary year.
We would also like to point out a serious flaw in the selection of the chairpersons of the various standing committees. Members of the coalition chair all twelve standing committees. No wonder that the supervisory function of parliament is seriously compromised. One does not expect a coalition member in parliament to readily scrutinize and criticize the policies, decisions and performance of his/her coalition partner in the government.
For example, with all the problems surrounding the Ministry of Justice, the Chairman of the Committee of Justice MP Frans Richardson never felt the need to call a meeting of this Committee. Further, with all the problems associated with the dump, the Chairman of the Committee of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure MP Drs. Rodolphe Samuel never called a meeting. The same goes for all the other standing committees.
Under the topic of attendance, I would like to mention here that it is unacceptable that mature Members of Parliament still have to be chided by the President of Parliament for being absent at meetings without due notice. With today’s plethora of technology – and mind you our MPs receive a smartphone at the beginning of their term of office – it is inexcusable that an MP still does not care to inform the President in a timely manner of his/her absence.
So, with regard to attendance, an MP’s report card will summarize his/her absence or presence, with or without notice at all meetings. But the attendance score related to the standing committees will weigh much heavier than the attendance at the other parliamentary meetings.
In the following article, we will elucidate the other five benchmarks of the MP Report Card.
Leader of the Sint Maarten Christian Party
Three Sundays ago I went with my boyfriend deep sea fishing. Nice adventure, we thought, not really knowing what to expect.
They caught a Blue Marlin (3.2-meter). So horrible. That fish was fighting for his life for 40 minutes on the hook. They didn’t want to cut the line. It was like killing a human. Going in their territories and killing them just to sell the huge fish for $1,900 to a S' Bay restaurant. They should go jail for this.
Queenie, is there a way to stop these cruel killings?—Adventure went horror
I understand your feelings, but really, I have to ask you: What did you expect? The whole purpose of such an excursion is to catch a fish. Did you think that if they caught a fish the fish would give up without a fight? That if they caught a fish and it resisted the fishermen would just let it go?
The only way to stop this kind of event is for everyone to stop going on such excursions, stop eating fish at restaurants and stop buying fish-meat in supermarkets – and you know as well as I do, that is not going to happen.
The first time I represented the island abroad I was 19 years old. After going through a vetting process (written and oral) I was selected to attend the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage and Youth Leadership conference in Montego Bay, Jamaica. However, I would have been the one to go nonetheless, because I was the only one who completed the application!
In the past two years I have had the opportunity to represent St. Maarten and attend various leadership, empowerment or sustainability programmes around the world. That one trip to Jamaica motivated me to be one of the few and sometimes the only Caribbean voice at those international platforms.
By default, every St. Maartener is an ambassador of the island. With the thousands we currently have abroad, whenever they meet someone new one of the first questions they’ll get is “Where is that?” That will prompt questions about the island, history, culture, economy and so forth. A question that must be asked, however, is how much do our students know about their island?
I firmly believe knowledge of one’s heritage plays a major role in building self-confidence which in return will foster boldness and courage in our youth. I realised that some of these conferences intimidate our youth either because of the requirements, distance or cost. I too had fears several times I applied to certain programmes. There were times when I was the youngest or least “educated” yet I found myself being respected in the debates or workshops.
Such experiences have taught me to never underestimate oneself and I hope to see more young people with the same mindset. Imagine the intimidation being the only black person in a plane and airport in Russia. That’s what I dealt with and overcame. I believe that St. Maarten has way too many talented and brilliant young minds to not encourage them to represent not just the island but also the Caribbean.
I think it’s time we add structure or create a programme where our young people can get the opportunity to be an ambassador for the island; whether it’s in the arts, academics, science, business, leadership and other fields. Currently there are hundreds of seminars and conferences happening internationally that we can benefit from by having a youth representative.
Whether through the youth department or tourism department, I believe we need to set a solid structure on the requirements and responsibilities of a youth ambassador. Since most times I travelled through self-will, I encouraged others to do so via social media, and also talking to students at different schools. However, I wish there was a system in place to submit reports on the conferences, brainstorm ideas and form partnerships or enhance existing programmes with the knowledge gained.
Companies should also be able to support because it’s an investment in a better island. Most importantly, these seminars and conferences help with personal development through the skills one develops such as public speaking, listening, (underrated skill), debating, networking and intercultural communication. Not to mention it provides the opportunity to broaden one’s view of the world as travelling is one of the best ways to do so.
With all that being said, I strongly urge our youth to take the opportunity themselves to be global citizens and gain the necessary experience and knowledge we desperately need to help us move forward. There are websites and Facebook pages such as Youth Opportunity and Opportunity Desk which constantly post seminars, conferences and competitions which we are eligible to attend.
No matter which field you’re in, research programmes and workshops that will be taking place and let’s get this island to be more global! We have the brains and talent; it is now time to put the resources behind them.
My next-door neighbour is always asking to borrow something – food items, paper towels, even money, but she almost never returns anything she borrows and if she does it’s way later than she promised. And she asks me to look after her pets when she goes away even for just a day.
Queenie, I have a limited income and better things to do with my time. What is a polite way to say “no” to her?—Fed up
Dear Fed up,
I see no reason to be particularly polite to someone who is trying to take advantage of you, but if you cannot bring yourself to give her an emphatic refusal, why not try charging her – up front! – for whatever she wants.
If it is a cup of sugar or a roll of paper towels, the price tag from the grocery store should be on the package and you can insist on payment at that moment, just as the store would do. As for looking after her pets, she would have to pay a stranger to look after them, so figure out what you time is worth to you and insist on payment in advance for your services.
Either you will be properly compensated for your trouble or she will stop making demands on you – win-win.
Do you know what is considered garbage here on Sint Maarten? Coming from me, I believe you would expect me to have an idea. But when cut grass has to be bagged and if not bagged, one is threatened with a fine of NAf.1000 if deposited in those large garbage bins along the road, then I do not know.
All of this I found out because in the week of August 7th to the 12th, after 20 years of depositing cut grass in whatever kind of garbage bin I used over those years, my garbage was not collected. On informing in the neighbourhood, I found out that several other bins were also not emptied which also contained cut grass. Mind you, not branches from trees, just plain old everyday cut grass.
I thought that I was out of touch with the trash business, but more people in the neighbourhood were also not aware of the – what we accept as stipulations concerning garbage collection – if there are any. I know that more and more environmentalists are convincing their governments of the damage the use and not correct disposal of plastic bags is causing to the ecology of the country. Since a few years now legislation has been introduced and dealt with but not completed, to get rid of plastic bags.
When we are obliged to bag our cut grass, what bags are we supposed to use? And then that threat of a fine of one thousand guilders, is this the law? Should we really pay a fine for trying to keep Sint Maarten clean?
Then there is talk about legalizing gypsies. When government cannot place bus stops on government-owned land to help regulate (bus) traffic. When bus permit holders determine which routes they are going to service, creating even more attractive routes for gypsies, what is there to be expected? Should I be surprised if garbage collectors lay down their own laws?
The banana plant is a very useful and a nourishing plant that is why I do not appreciate the term 'banana republic', but this kind of proceeding of government invites these observations. While we are on the topic of garbage, let me state this. I was told on several occasions that I should clean my car. That is because if I did not take a bag along with me in which I can put my garbage, because I do not throw my garbage on the road. I will accept being told that my car is dirty before throwing garbage on the road.
But this is not about me. I am still convinced that Sint Maarten is the only place with plastic-bottle trees, beside fruit trees. I am on the road at least five times a week. I pass those young men either with weed eaters or garbage bags cleaning the side of the road and gathering up the paper and plastic bottles from the side of the road, and promptly the next morning there is the same number of bottles and same amount of paper or sometimes even more.
Since the saying is 'It's raining cats and dogs' those bottles have to be falling off the trees, because I really do not believe there are so many inconsequential people on this piece of rock. By the way, isn't grass biodegradable?
Russell A. Simmons
An old friend is visiting the island and he invited me out to lunch to talk about old times and catch up on what we have been doing. We won’t be doing anything wrong, but I didn’t tell my husband because he is very jealous and would have a fit if he knew and I don’t think he will ever find out.
Queenie, do you think he would be right to be mad at me?—Uncertain wife
If you are keeping it a secret from your husband you are going behind his back, which is a betrayal of trust, and he would have a right to be angry. How would you like it if he did something like this to you?
Why not ask your husband to join you and the old friend – and the old friend’s wife, if he is married? If the spouses are bored stiff, at least they will know you are being honest with them. And who knows? It might turn out to be a four-way friendship.
As has been confirmed by both the opposition party and the now defunct former coalition party, Minister Plasterk’s tenure has been a big failure, both when it comes to his domestic dossiers and his dealings with the islands of the former Netherlands Antilles. In my personal opinion, he is by far the worst Minister handling the portfolio dating back as far as I can remember, and the many critical letters he has received from the Government of Sint Eustatius are a testament to that. On top of that, time and again, Minister Plasterk has proven to be unreliable, of bad faith, and not open and honest to the general public and even the Dutch Parliament.
The latter has been very critical of the Minister’s handling of his portfolio and has questioned and reprimanded him on numerous occasions. Minister Plasterk has also been criticized by the Raad van State (Council of State) for breaking the law, as he ignored legal advice from different sources. It is therefore no surprise that even within the Dutch council of ministers Plasterk was not really taken seriously. The main cause for this was because he was not really in charge of his ministry and left decision making up to his top civil servants. This was mentioned in a newspaper article in the Antilliaans Dagblad on August 10, 2017.
Just to name a few of Plasterk’s failures:
•The unlawful interference in the internal affairs of Sint Maarten and Aruba by giving the (former) Governors of the islands instructions.
•Wasting money on the IdeeVersa and Spies reports without implementing the recommendations
•Committing payments to KPMG without the approval of the Island Council
•Hiding the report about the malfunctioning of former kingdom representative Wilbert Stolte and BZK in particular, and not following through with its recommendations.
Plasterk will be meeting with the Executive and Island Councils of Sint Eustatius on August 14, as part of his farewell tour of the islands. Unfortunately, he has not much to be proud of.
In contrast, the current coalition Government of Sint Eustatius, which met the government administration in complete disarray, and the fact that the island was stuck at the same level of development of 30 years ago, has been able to start a number of initiatives which Minister Plasterk has been trying to boycott, while creating the impression that he wanted to help the island move forward.
These include: finalizing the agreement with NuStar; permanently filling key management and other positions which are crucial to improving the functioning of government; starting with the preparations of fixing the roads by local contractors; improving the ICT infrastructure and functioning; setting up an economic development council; engaging in talks with foreign investors and other partners in the field of aviation, logistics; preparing a draft Constitution for Sint Eustatius, and carrying out a feasibility study for Sint Eustatius
All these initiatives, and more which are being prepared, are the accomplishments of the democratically-elected government of Sint Eustatius, headed by my coalition partner Reuben Merkman and I.
As is widely known, Plasterk and his party suffered a debilitating and humiliating defeat at the latest polls in the Netherlands. The current caretaker Dutch coalition government already lacks majority support in the Dutch Parliament, and might even fall before the new government is installed.
Based on Plasterk’s dismal performance since he took office, and the reaction to it by the Dutch voters during the last elections, I suggest that in his talks with the Government of Sint Eustatius, Plasterk humbles himself again, and shows the respect due to the democratically-elected and appointed local representatives of Sint Eustatius.
I am aware of Plasterk's recent letter and remarks. It is clear by the actions of BZK that he is purposely ignoring the legal standpoint taken by Sint Eustatius and is having an open dialogue about it. It is also clear that he is unlawfully trying to take over the local government under the guise of higher supervision by putting in place failed and recycled Dutch civil servants, a phenomenon which has been pointed out by the Antilliaans Dagblad a few months ago.
I am hereby cautioning Plasterk that any attempt at interfering with – or removing this democratically-elected government via the acting governor or others – will be met with fierce resistance. The consequences will be for Plasterk’s account, and if he and the Dutch government have learned anything from history, they would be well-advised to do the right thing while he still has the chance.
Clyde I. van Putten
Leader of Government of St. Eustatius
The Democratic Party would like to extend a warm welcome home to those who spent the summer abroad, and extends best wishes to all students, teachers, and staff of learning institutions island-wide, and surely to parents too, for the new academic year.
We believe that parents play an important, perhaps the most important role in this equation. We do so with genuine appreciation and respect for all that parents must sacrifice and do to ensure their children’s success, sometimes working two, even three jobs to pay school fees, books, uniforms and more; not to mention after-school care and activity cost, which increase if the child engages in some sport or form of art (sports gear, musical instruments, etc.).
Of the expressions of God’s steadfast and abiding love here on earth, that of a parent is surely one of them. From it we learn that sacrifices and investments made for all those who come behind us is the very definition of civilization.
Good teachers confess to faithfully picking up where the parents leave off, child after child, day after day. Yet in conversations held in confidence, we hear them say they work even better with students whose parents take the time to give them individual and personal assistance. Why? They say they know for sure that those students will always have an extra push and those parents keep a keen eye on their child’s progress or their challenges.
Even 30 minutes of uninterrupted one-on-one time spent by parents with their youth on homework or any other activity, not only strengthens the bond, but is critical to their development, and an ‘unspoken’ agreement in "co-labour" that the youth will uphold.
It may be that they resist at first, believing you will not continue, or they prefer to command their own space. Persevere! That sacrifice of time in full and undivided attention (no phone calls, work, TV, newspapers or interruptions allowed) is vitally important for them, because it ‘says’ they are more important than anything else you could, would, or ‘should’ be doing – even for their benefit. Without this kind of attention, few youth, even good students are motivated to reach their full potential.
The message is that those 30 minutes ‘say’ more and have greater impact than a stream of lectures directed at them. Our complete time and attention with them feed a need of intimacy and nurturing that do not disappear after infancy. It demonstrates ‘love’ in a primal way that cannot be conveyed simply by what we do ‘for’ them.
So what is an ultra-busy parent to do? Begin considering all you have done and will continue to do and prioritize this one more: make, find or rewind 30 minutes at least four times a week and spend it with your child or children. At the end of the day, just as consistent attention to one’s homework in academics is the only way to get the best outcome and results, so it is in parenting as well. With this resolve by our parents, not only will students excel, but teachers will be able to "run with the ball" and students will follow.
Best wishes to all for a safe, successful and productive school year.
Board and Leadership of the Democratic Party
The world presently is in a deception mode. What I am about to say is not intended to offend anybody. But it can, depending on your life style or your values in life. My purpose for this article is for people to think well based on facts before they make a decision.
Deception is the act of hiding the truth to get an advantage to control and use people.
I will not waste time anymore if any one rebut against this article, I let the words and facts defend itself. What is truth? Truth defined in the dictionary is that which is true in accordance with fact or reality.
John 14:6 Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. Many people believe in God; the big question is which God they believe in. Believing in God is one thing, but trust and obedience is another matter. In relationships, be it business, friendship, marriage or organization, they are all built on trust and obedience to the rules that are established. When disobeying a rule in any relationship trust is broken and the relationship becomes in jeopardy and causes great challenges which can or will lead to destruction.
Obedience to God proves our love for Him; it demonstrates our faithfulness to Him, and glorifies Him in the world, and opens avenues of blessing for us. Obedience proves love and fulfils trust which leads to a good decision. In order words, true love is proving faithfulness when nobody is around to see you while you are doing what is right and truthful to the commitment you made. Your commitment being made or kept is what you choose to do.
Choices have consequences.
My point is, if you love God prove it by obedience and trust, in fact, God commands us to do that. It is our choice not to do it, but it is never a right to do what is wrong. God will be a fool to give you a right to do something wrong, and then hold you guilty. The people who preach that are deceiving you. Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This means you have to neglect your feelings and your desires and live to please Jesus Christ.
The truth is, I am still struggling with it, but I continue to pursue to do what is right or to please to him. But being disobedient is to intentionally live to please to yourself. This means to live a lifestyle of telling lies, killing, stealing, fornicating and committing adultery, or so-called living, or marrying your same-sex partner and without concern for what God commands. All these things are disobedience and distrust in God which makes destructive decisions.
Many of us use our accomplishments as a manner to comfortably live in sin. We use our money and business and our nice cars and houses to seduce others to commit acts displeasing to God, and we call that happiness. We brag and boast about our sinful deeds; when this lifestyle becomes the norm, the Spirit of the Lord leaves you, and you are already lost without knowing it.
If you truly love God and choose Him as your Lord and Saviour, then your choice must be to obey and trust Him. In closing, I leave you with this, choose wisely! God never tolerates sin; He curses and punishes sin.
Psalm 101:3-8 (NIV) I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it. The perverse of heart shall be far from Me; I will have nothing to do with what is evil. Whoever slanders their neighbour in secret, I will put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, I will not tolerate. My eyes will be on the faithful in the land that they may dwell with Me; the one whose walk is blameless will minister to Me.
No one who practices deceit will dwell in My house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence. Every morning I will put to silence all the wicked in the land; I will cut off every evildoer from the city of the Lord.
My friends, it is crystal clear now, obedience and trust make good decisions.
The Patriot Miguel Arrindell
If we listen to members of government tell it, we may be just a trifle below Utopia. By their data everything is tipsy turvy, and no stone is left unturned to protect our country and defend our people. In short, giving meaning to the campaign slogans of “People before self and promise made promise kept”.
But just as in previous governments, we are hard pressed to believe, for it doesn’t show in the employment market, or the food basket or our ability to pay school fees, meet our obligations to GEBE and other household necessities. Let me be perfectly clear, it is beyond any doubt quite a feat to put all these high councils in place in six years, it is awe- inspiring to balance the budget and rid our people of the Nancy stories of the Dutch and the CFT with their instructions and threats of higher supervision.
But what are we supposed to think when we hear that our government has recently approved hundreds of residents and work permits for foreigners, while our young people cry out for gainful employ?
How are we to accept that these jobs are mostly in sales persons, hotel help and car rental agents when we are told we don’t qualify? How are we to reconcile the fact that out of every ten people in stores on Front Street and Back Street, all are non-national and eight are directors?
If our education system is not producing what the business community needs, maybe we should be better informed on these requirements and adjust our curriculum to suit. Even then, there will remain a degree of doubt as we are told we can’t tell the school boards, which are subsidized by the tax payer, how to set the curriculum. We have in this country requirements for directors of our NVs and in government sector; maybe we can be informed on the needs of directors in jewel stores, Tee-shirt shops and electronic equipment outlets.
I know you see where I am going, the same urgency and maximum input you attach to the implementation of the asset confiscation team can be put into the eradication of the abuse of short-term contracts. We can also ask the overzealous prosecutor’s office to apply the law on businesses that employ illegals and try to circumvent the law on taxes and social security, I am sure the treasury can use an extra NAf.100.000.
It would be nice if our INS can check on the many Venezuelans, who have refugee or other humanitarian status on the northern half of the island now taken on most of the jobs in the hotels in the MAHO area.
Our government has been very busy with a myriad of issues, but none that directly affect the life and livelihood of the small man, what a friend of mine referred to as the bread-and-butter issues. We are also still concerned about the Pearl of China projects and the guaranty of jobs to our people, and we are hoping that we will know before they start up to avoid hearing we don’t have what they need or that our education system is inadequate.
We may be able to pre-empt that by finding out now what vacancies are available to us or what percentage of the project we will be able to fill.
Ladies and gentlemen of honour, the messages coming out of your weekly press briefings are at the very least misleading. When you declare we are giving too many work permits to outsiders for jobs locals can fill and then issue a new batch of permits is very misleading.
When you omit to finalize laws promised since 10-10-10, and expedite others that don’t directly address the cries of our people, that is also misleading. And when you proudly announce the education budget, including your pride in the successful candidates who leave to further their studies, but fill all positions in the public sector with outsiders, while giving the private sector more permits to import foreign labour, it is at the very least, downright confusing.
The United People’s Coalition (UPC) acknowledges that in a constitutional democracy there are a set of rules, with counterbalancing influences in place to keep those in charge honest, in the widest sense of the word. In dealing with a government as such, those rules fall under checks and balances on the judicial-, legislative- and executive branches.
The checks and balances that Statia’s government must adhere to are anchored in the WolBES and the FinBES. More specifically, these are, among others, in the hands of the island council, the governor, the Kingdom Representative (KR), the Council of financial supervision (CFT), and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Kingdom Relations (BZK). Of course, the people also have a say when they evaluate the individual politicians and validate their level of production in the vote they cast every four years. What should be clear is the fact that these checks and balances are only meaningful and effective with enforcement of sanctions in case of failures.
In Statia’s case, we have seen the following infractions and failures in the last eighteen months: failure of not having a 2017 budget, no submission of adequate quarterly financial reports, no financial year reports 2015 and 2016, appointments of personnel, an island secretary and Island financial controller and an Interim Director, all paid out of the government’s coffer without the approval of the Kingdom Representative.
Because no decisive actions were taken by the governor, the Kingdom Representative, the CFT nor the Ministry, the ruling coalition stretched the envelope by taking their illegal behaviour a step further by adopting a motion in the island council where they declared the WolBES and the FinBES invalid, indicating to The Hague they will not adhere to these laws enacted to govern our lives and liberty.
This last action of the ruling coalition is indicative of a wider power grab by this coalition by creating a vacuum in which they have 'carte blanche' to do as they feel under the disguise of several UN treaties, hence fulfilling the many campaign promises, such as appointments of unqualified cronies, threatening of the civil corps, signing agreements without the signature of the governor, travelling at will, and using the funds out of the people’s coffer as if they have impunity.
So, is it then fair to state that because of the inept attitude and failure of enforcing the check and balances in the interest of our people against the ruling coalition by above-mentioned ministry (BZK), they facilitated and also encouraged the ruling coalition to perpetuate this lawless governing?
As a result of this lackadaisical attitude of BZK, UPC must conclude that to continue blaming this present coalition alone is useless. Governing like this is the new normal for them, because sadly, it is condoned by the entities in charge. So, the suffering of our people under this administration falls squarely not only on the shoulders of this coalition, but moreover also on that of Minister Plasterk of Ministry of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations, for dropping the ball.
Reginald C. Zaandam
Leader of the United People's Coalition
I have noticed an important point, this time in a letter dated July 18th signed by Commissioner Charles Woodley. I will ignore for the time being that Woodley signed the letter on behalf of the executive council, as such bypassing the authority of the governor, who by law is the one representing the executive council, and the one to sign the letters on behalf of them, not the commissioner.
In this letter, he states that according to the United Nations Charter, the interests of the people of Statia are paramount. Coincidentally, this sounds almost the same as the title of the DP paper ‘The benefits of the people come first’. And this is the crucial point. And I want the people of Statia to pay keen attention.
Up to now, the coalition has not given one shred of proof how the path to autonomy they envision, and want to force down the people’s throat, will benefit them, and that their interests, that are so paramount, are served by this.
Up to now, not a single effort has been put into informing the people what this autonomy means to them. Up to now, the people have not been explained by the coalition at what cost to them this envisioned status change will come about. Up to now, the coalition has failed to explain to the people how they are going to finance their autonomy dream.
Up to now they have not explained if this will be done through a steep increase of taxes or by cut-backs on services and benefits to the people. Up to now, the coalition has not explained to the people what this proposed status change means for their healthcare, for the education of their children, for the economic development of our island, for their pensions, for the infrastructure, for their financial situation, for their jobs!
Up to now, the coalition has not acknowledged that the mere goal of their desired status change is the increase of their personal power, and the riddance of supervision and control on what they are doing.
And please, don’t say all this does not matter as long as it is so-called “freedom” the people will get in return for it. As Clyde van Putten once said: You cannot eat autonomy!