In The Spotlight
So I opened up the Herald online to read updates pertaining to our island. Not the Bahamas. Us, in St Martin,
I am sorry they suffered what they have. Truly I am. I suffered the same. I lost my house and my business. So many many of us did.
Has St Martin forgotten what Hurricane Irma did to us? What little help we received?
Sorry, I never received more than a bottle of water after Irma tore off my brand new roof. I begged for water as I was breastfeeding my son. I needed the extra hydration. I was ignored. I will never forget how this island treated me after Irma.
My brand new roof blew off, which the developer (Koozie Development) ran away from honouring a verbal guarantee that he would replace. Buyer beware from them with A&A Supplies. Very shady people … .
As I sat under the bathroom sink with my 11-month-old child. My entire roof disappeared. I was told by his lawyer that “something hit the roof” again, a brand new roof. Buyer beware of this developer.
Not one charity gave us a tarp for our roof as Maria rained on it and flooded my house.
I will never give to a single charity on this island after struggling as a single mum rebuilding. Two years later I still rebuild.
I don’t look like a charity case. I don’t present myself as a charity case. So to this date my family rebuilt with zero help from this island. Don’t you dare ask me for charity for others. How dare this island ignore us and now ask for handouts. Shameful. I am disgusted.
You charity organisations should be ashamed of yourselves. Red Cross, I have words for you that cannot be published. Look within first. Where were you when I had no roof? Where were you when I needed help? Right … I don’t fit the charity “profile”. You charities, all of you, make me sick. I rebuilt from my own pocket. Now you want a penny from me to help others?
I remember calling the police for help, I called the fire department for help. All they said was, “Am sorry we cannot help.” They gave all their handouts to their family. Rice, water, generators, etc. – all the donations worldwide. Where did they go? To their family. The police and fire department gave all donations to their family.
I actually have a neighbour who bragged about her fire-fighting brother who gave her bags and bags of rice for life from China! She never even offered me a bowl of rice. Imagine that.
Friendly Island …
I have lost complete respect for the police and fire department on the Dutch side since Irma. They never helped the layman during hard times.
Bring on the Dutchman, they also never helped. They will never help. They only help their own kind.
I do believe that is called “bigotry” “racism”.
Mary De Francesco
My husband died about 10 years ago and now I am engaged to be married again. I am inviting all my friends and family to the wedding.
I was always close to my late husband’s family, but having them there would remind me of him and kind of spoil the occasion.
Queenie, do I have to invite them?—Widowed fiancée
If you are still close to your late husband’s family, they might be hurt if you do not invite them. On the other hand, the occasion might make them sad, so they might not want to come or would not enjoy themselves if they did.
You might talk it over with some of them and see how they feel about watching you get married to someone else. Or you could just send them an announcement, and explain to them later why they were not invited.
On page 7 of The Daily Herald of Tuesday September 10, 2019, I read “‘Chacho’ working on initiative to amend country’s traffic laws”. I said to myself, at last. But when I read further it concerned the sobriety testing, which indeed should have been in use by the police a long time ago. I hope that this initiative law will be met with and dealt with the necessary maturity and not brushed aside like the, according to my recollection, one and only initiative plastic bags law.
Along with that I would have loved to read that in cooperation with the traffic department and VROMI,, places for bus stops along the roads will be stipulated, and indicated by the official yellow bus stop sign. By the way I have been mentioning this long before “Chacho” got into politics.
Over and over I have been calling people’s (in government) attention to the fact that official bus stops are not indicated by inlets along the roads or by bus stop huts. Bus stops are indicated by the yellow traffic sign with the Dutch word BUSHALTE. If the bus stops are indicated, other drivers would expect buses to stop at the bus stops and not as is the case now, not being sure or knowing if the bus is going to stop every ten meters or whenever and wherever a passenger ask them to stop.
Right now anybody, including visitors to the island, are not sure where to go to catch a bus, because of the very erratic and irresponsible way in which bus drivers , and for that matter gypsies also, on the island go about picking up passengers. Sadly to say, and literally nothing is being done about it. This, in my opinion, is one of the reasons, if not the main reason why more and more the traffic is backed up.
Every time I’m on the road and I see this erratic behavior of irresponsible drivers, it reminds me of my first mentor who at that time pressed upon me something that I had heard when leaving the police academy, that if the police remain consistent in the execution of their duty, the police just like the Customs, the tax department, the telephone company, the utility companies, would also be a department of government which would largely contribute in paying their own salary.
While I’m at it, I believe that the school buses also can ask the schoolchildren (in same school uniform) if they can come together in one spot and not 30 meters further on the same road. That, to me, would be contributing to the building a sense of order of the child.
If memory serves me well, as long as I have been here, politicians felt intimidated to talk to a subject, both in the Island Council and Parliament. It was pleasing to me to read that the MP expressed her sense of courage. It sounded like coming from a man after my own heart. It reminded me of what my father told me when I first started to work. He said to me, “If you are not man enough to represent what that uniform stands for take it off.” I did not take it off.
I hope that the rest of the Members of Parliament will follow suit, which should assure us of the sense of independence and gumption of each member.
Russell A. Simmons
My husband pays child support for children with his first wife, but as far as I can see the money is not being used for the children. They never have decent clothes and shoes or pocket money or money for school activities.
Queenie, should we talk to their mother, or what should we do?—Worried stepmother
Your husband should talk to the children’s mother. It may be that the money goes to pay for necessities like rent, food and/or medical bills. If that conversation is not satisfactory, he should consult his lawyer. Perhaps the support payments are not enough, or if the money is being misused, the support payments to the mother could be reduced and he, together with you, could buy (some of) the children’s clothes and shoes, and give them some pocket money directly.
Yes, St. Maarten government has done it again. From the time the new coalition government was formed after elections, I believe people were hoping for the best, however things still turned out again for the worst. I believe I can hear the old people say: “Donkey maybe peed on them, or too much goat mouth was upon them.” However the case dear editor, we are now seemingly back to square one. Should we now go back to the polls, form another coalition or what? It’s a shame!
Since St. Maarten obtained its separate status in 2010, yet now nine years later, our politicians still cannot get their act together when it comes to unity, agreement, interest of this island, and governing stability.
Dear editor, how are we going to prove to the people of St. Maarten and the Dutch, that we can handle things on our own, even if we may ever get independence? With continual breakup of government, I can say that the future of this island may not be too bright. What example are we setting for ourselves, our future generation, and the Dutch Kingdom? It’s like a marriage relationship that goes sour. In the end it will lead to separation or divorce. And who will suffer the most? The children who depend on a stable family unity to grow up and walk in the footsteps of their parents.
Over the last years since our Separate Status in 10-10-10, we have seen more disagreements, disunity, ship-jumping, greed, selfishness, even politicians continually being arrested, or put behind bars for committing fraud, money-laundering, cutting above- and under-the-table deals.
Dear editor there is now talk about a re-election, especially among the opposition’s members of course. But dear editor, the people of St. Maarten are not foolish. We have been deceived for too long. Having a new government will not prove anything. The majority of people of St. Maarten have lost their trust in our politicians. The ten to thirteen thousand guilders a month salary is sweet, so why not fight your way back in?
Dear editor, since Hurricane Irma, many people on this island are still suffering financially, emotionally, and socially. Also there are still many pending issues to be resolved since Hurricane Irma devastated this island almost two years ago. The people of St. Maarten deserve better than this.
Our politicians need to understand that since 10-10-10, because of political issues, misunderstandings, backbiting, and cut throats, little progress has been made or achieved as an island that has received more autonomy. The people of this island are greatly concerned about what is going on politically. This issue has become the talk of the day.
Dear editor what people want is a stable government who will be able to jumpstart this island economy, bring in investors, get our airport, which is St. Maarten’s main economical stronghold, rebuilt, provide jobs, and give them security.
Voting for a new government who will go into office and repeat the same mistakes like the previous one or ones, does not make much sense. I don’t believe many people might even want to go cast their votes, unless they have the assurance that they will get a government who they can depend on, a government who is able to help them, and provide progress and a secure future for this island.
Dear editor, if we cannot run our own country, then we might as well bring in the Dutch to run it for us.
Frustrated and concerned citizen
Name withheld at author's request.
I had an affair with a married man whose wife was dying of cancer. It went on for several years and I thought maybe after a period of mourning he would ask me to marry him, or at least come and live with him, but it turned out that he just dumped me right after the funeral. Then, about a year later, he got engaged to some other woman.
Queenie, what do you think of all that?—Puzzled
Maybe after his wife died he felt so guilty about having cheated on her that he could not go on with you. Or maybe he needed the “forbidden fruit” aspect of your relationship to make it work. Or maybe he just got tired of you, or maybe he is just a jerk.
With a seven to seven
The man with the eight ball
Will make that final call
And remain standing tall
And will determine
whether the government
stands or fall
Thus giving the key
To none other than Frankey
The honorable MP Meyers
by his sudden but calculated
move has become a game
Frankie ketch the dutchman
with a finger still in the dike
trying hard te block the
While the crying Minister
Was out shopping
Like a plumber for stop
Parliament sprang ah leak
And Frankie gone
Yeh done know
Looking for Frankie
Where is Frankie
Now Frankie once more
holds the key
Whether we rise
Frankie will make that call
And as far as I am concerned
Frankie haven’t said his last
YEH DONE KNOW
HE AIN’T DONE YET
Raymond Helligar aka “Big Ray”
I have a friend who is a non-stop talker. She goes on and on and on about whatever she is saying and you can’t get in a single word. Even when she asks you a question, she interrupts your answer and gives your answer for you and then doesn’t stop talking.
I don’t want to try to talk to her about this because she gets her feelings hurt easily and I don’t want to spoil our friendship.
Queenie, what do you suggest?—Frustrated
Apparently your friend considers you more of an audience than a partner in conversation. Either get used to just sitting and listening to her, or limit your contacts with her to e-mails and voice and/or text messages.
On September 3, 2019, Red Cross St. Maarten decided to collect monetary donations to support the Bahamas Red Cross in response to the devastation of Hurricane Dorian. The storm battered the Bahamas and lingered there for more than a day, causing tremendous damage to the island’s homes and infrastructure. It’s vital to understand that Red Cross St. Maarten’s effort intends to complement the support of the International Federation of Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies and other agencies that are also providing aid to the Bahamas.
Red Cross St. Maarten has learned valuable lessons about distributing aid locally, regionally and internationally in the past years. By sharing this information we hope to clarify the current process of emergency relief aid to the Bahamas, so St. Maarten residents understand why we focus on collecting monetary donations instead of in-kind donations. We owe all donors that same courtesy, and we aim for transparency at all times with all parties involved.
As Red Cross we aim to support the affected population as best as possible based upon their local and specific needs. The local authorities and the Bahamas Red Cross with support of the International Federation of Red Cross is currently conducting needs assessments among the affected population. Based upon this data specific requests for donations are already being made. So humanitarian aid is based on what is needed by the affected people first. Unfortunately, many of the well-meaning donations do not match the immediate needs of the people.
Processing unsolicited goods requires an immense amount of manpower and funds. All goods coming in need to be cleared through Customs, transported to local warehouses, checked for quality standards, sorted according to type, size and expiration date and eventually distributed. When you’re short on helping hands and funds you don’t want to be sorting piles of clothes while people have no access to safe drinking water. The aid needs to be well targeted and fast. This can only be done if we are absolutely certain that the goods coming in are actually requested and fit the quality standards of the affected country. We don’t want to burden the local responders with goods they haven’t requested at the moment, are not culturally appropriate or don’t match minimum quality standards.
The devastation at the Bahamas is enormous, this also affected the different supply routes to the disaster areas. Local airports have been shut, boats and harbors are seriously damaged, roads are flooded or filled with debris, warehouses are destroyed. Taking into account this limited local logistics capacity, the ‘pipeline’ gets congested quickly. During previous disasters runways were clogged with boxes of unsorted clothes and food, preventing essential supplies to be delivered. Therefore, priority is given to the most critical supplies first as requested by the local authorities and agencies.
We also need to think about the cost of transport of goods. Transport of goods is costly and time consuming. Why spending thousands of dollars on shipping water from one island to another while relief organizations can purify a multiple volume of water locally using less funds. Or why flood the local markets with imported food items if local markets or local production eventually re-established providing income to local merchants or farmers.
To ensure support to our sister Red Cross in the Bahamas, we are collecting monetary donations to give to the Bahamas Red Cross, via the International Federation of Red Cross, so that those agencies, on the ground, can react swiftly and appropriately to the most urgent needs.
Red Cross St. Maarten made a conscious decision not to send food and clothing supplies without a formal request from the Bahamas Red Cross to avoid burdening relief workers and volunteers with unrequested aid. Also, we believe that the provision of cash to local aid organizations helps them in adapting their response options based upon the local context, supporting their freedom of choice and dignity as local actors.
When can Red Cross St. Maarten send food and clothing supplies?
We will send food and clothing supplies when there is a request from Bahamas Red Cross.
Why are we collecting monetary donations locally rather than having the money sent directly to Bahamas?
Red Cross St. Maarten acknowledges that the Bahamas services will be interrupted after the storm. Receiving cash donations or bank transfers is to ensure that we can provide funds for purchasing items that are based on a Needs Assessment.
Why is it necessary to do a Needs Assessment?
A Needs Assessment ensures that Red Cross and other agencies are collecting and providing the correct type of aid to affected people.
What happens after a Needs Assessment?
Usually, agencies on the ground submit formal requests to cohorts regionally and internationally for assistance in meeting the needs captured in an assessment.
Netherlands Red Cross – St. Maarten
My sister and her husband (her second husband) have a son in primary school and they let him get away with all sorts of things that they would never let her older son from her first marriage do.
When they first got married her new husband treated the older boy as if he was his own, but things changed when the new baby came along.
The older boy has noticed the difference in the way they are treating the younger one and he is angry about it and this shows in the way he has begun to behave.
My sister and her husband say they treat him more strictly because they are afraid he will turn out to be like his father and the way he is behaving proves that they are right.
Queenie, what can I do to help him?—Worried aunt
You can try explaining to your sister and her husband that if your older nephew turns out to be like his (apparently not so nice) biological father it will not be something passed on to him from his bio-dad, but because of the way they are treating him. However, they may not be willing to listen to you.
Try to persuade them to get professional counselling for the boy, and/or family counselling for all of them. The parents might be willing to listen to a professional counsellor, and at least it would help your nephew learn to deal with the situation.
My sister cheated on her husband and they got divorced and now she is living with the man she cheated with. Their son, who is an adult, is totally upset by all this and the rest of our family totally disapproves too.
So, Queenie, what do we do when we have a family get-together? We won’t invite the ex-husband, but we don’t want to invite the new boyfriend either, so as not to upset her son, my nephew, and because we don’t approve of her relationship with him.—Disgusted brother
I understand your feelings about this “other man”, but he is part of your sister’s life now, so I suggest you invite him to these get-togethers. It will be easier for your nephew to get used to having him around and to learn to at least be polite to him if he has his other relatives around supporting him and setting a good example.
This is an article to clarify and clear the Club High Up owner’s name from the incident that took place on November 18, 2018, on Simpson Bay Road.
I didn’t testify or give a statement identifying no 1. I was working in the bar when the incident occurred on the road. I was asked to come in at the station about the incident.
When I was asked about a Rastafarian man, a skinny person and a broad-shouldered man, of which hundreds of people in the club fit the description, I told them I don’t know who they’re talking about. They brought a sheet of paper with six people on it, asking if I know them. I responded, “No, first time seeing them.” Then they told me two had died the following night in a different incident. I again told them I don’t know anyone in the picture. Then they said it was okay to go.
I didn’t have any knowledge of a court case nor have I ever been in the Courthouse to testify, so I just want to make it clear that I have nothing to do with that incident.
Owner High Up Club
In my family, us children were raised to know that once we finished college we were expected to be able to support ourselves, and that is what we all have done. We have all done quite well and now in fact we are able to help out our parents when they need it.
My fiancé is quite well-off, but some of his family are not and he is constantly helping them out with money.
Queenie, it looks like it will always be this way. What should I do?—Worried fiancée
Once you marry, you and your husband-to-be should make financial decisions together. You need to sit down with him and discuss this matter, and if he will not do so now, he is not likely to do so after you are married. Pre-marital financial (and other) counselling might help.
My son and daughter-in-law recently invited us and her parents to their house to celebrate their baby’s first birthday. They have a small house and the baby doesn’t do well when there are a lot of people, so it was just the baby’s parents and grandparents.
A few days later some of our other relatives called to ask why they weren’t invited to the party and some of them were really upset that they hadn’t been included.
Queenie, how do we answer them?—Harassed grandmother
Just tell them what you have told me – the baby’s parents have a very small house and the baby does not do well in big crowds, so it was just a small “grandparents only” occasion. Then do not let their questions bother you.
The following is a prayer we say during the hurricane season every Sunday at the Anglican church. "Almighty and everlasting God, Lord of Heaven and earth, grant unto us, your suppliant people, protection against hurricane, earthquake, volcano, tsunami, tornado and other calamities, that in tranquillity of weather we may rejoice in the comfort we ever desire, and may always make right use of your bountiful goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen,"
We have had our share of hurricanes over the years. As has become customary at the end of every hurricane season, we come together in a combined service to give thanks to our Lord for taking care of us during the past season. I have seen the ravages of Dorian and I am calling on the people of this island to not wait until the end of the hurricane season, but to repeat that prayer daily.
I am aware of scepticism and also of atheists, but I am also aware of the saying: "Nothing beats a failure but a trial" or "No you have, yes you can get" . So, with that faith, if we say that prayer or whatever other prayer for protection and tranquil. By doing this as often as possible with dedication and conviction during the hurricane season, hopefully we'll make more believers.
Russell A. Simmons
I left the town hall meeting about the erosion and road projects which was held on Wednesday, September 4, with mixed feelings. It is without a doubt that the impressive way the strengthening of the cliff under Fort Oranje is being dealt with has received admiration by many of us. The acrobatic work that the workers of a French company with the suitable name of Acrobat X are performing, last weekend even supported by a helicopter, is quite astonishing.
Calling the progress of the roads, in particular the Cherry Tree road project, disappointing seems an understatement. I guess that the call for information to the public to explain as to why the roads in this area have still not been surfaced was actually the main reason why this first town hall meeting in 2019 has been called by the Kingdom Commissioner. The project was originally scheduled to be completed by the end of June. A new completion date in the meantime has been set for March 2020. The reason given for this delay in the newspaper was that materials were not available.
In the town hall meeting it was made known that there was a disagreement between Dutch contractor Koop and the supervisor, consultancy firm Royal Haskoning, about the grade of the cement to be used for the top layer of the roads. On the question why it took about eight months to come to a solution for this issue Mr. Franco explained that it took time to convince the one who pays the bills (which is BZK) of the need for a change. He did not want to reiterate further as that would be crying over spilled milk. This spilled milk, however, is the reason that more than one year and a half after the intervention by The Hague, and the local government has been put aside, there are still no roads built on Statia.
After some inquiries I learned that the supervisor requires UK certified cement as well as other building materials such as steel bars. One can imagine that this grade might be standard in Europe but not easily available in this part of the world. Haskoning, however, insisted as this UK quality was needed to build maintenance-free roads. Their representative was not able to convince the audience in the town hall meeting that such roads really exist.
The need for maintenance-free roads was necessary to make it possible that Statia’s yearly budget of one million dollars for road maintenance can be used for construction of new roads instead, clarified Mr. Franco. According to the director of Infrastructure, Mr. Reid, it is government’s intention that eventually all roads on Statia will be dealt with.
The same company, Royal Haskoning, in a report a few years ago, calculated that for this approximately 50 million dollars is required. Knowing that after the Cherry Tree project and the construction of the Jeems Road the available budget of 5.6 million dollars is about depleted I guess everyone can do the math and figure out how long this process will take if no additional budget becomes available.
During the town hall meeting and also at the end questions were raised by the audience about the choice of drainage system used for the Cherry Tree road project. The only argument brought in for this was that the supervisor, being Haskoning, decided that this is the best solution. Seeing our experience in the past with, among others, the poor job delivered by Dutch construction company MNO with the construction of our public water distribution network, supervised by a German consultancy firm, and the poorly constructed police station, the lesson learned should be not to accept advice of these companies at face value. Therefore also the suggestion by someone in the audience to make more use of local expertise should not be ignored.
After we were married for several years I found out my husband was cheating on me. We went to counselling and stayed together for our children’s sake but recently I found out he was cheating on me again and probably has been for a long time.
Queenie, should I talk to the woman he is seeing and tell her he is married and to leave him alone, or what should I do?—Miserable wife
Dear Miserable wife,
Talking to the other woman probably will not do much good. She probably knows her boyfriend (your husband) is a married man and just does not care.
You need to decide whether it is worth it to you to stay married to this man and what you have to do based on your decision. Professional and legal counselling will help you decide.
This narrative is not meant to pass any judgment on the developments regarding the “Hapgood” case on Anguilla.
It is meant to state in a neutral manner, I allege just as the aforementioned individual can use a wide network of high profile global public relations, print and mass media organizations to channel and share his version of the incident that happened at his hotel on Anguilla with such headlines as “Vacation Violence”, by the same token Anguillians, their friends and supporters should have the ability to have freedom of expression, to share their views and break the cycle of pain, rather than internalize it.
Truth be told, I allege anyone who viewed those evening news reports and press conferences on the aforementioned incident probably more than likely they came to the conclusion that there was nothing spared, but rather it seemed like an attempt to smear the image of the deceased and the island nation of Anguilla in the court of public opinion ... just saying.
So, being a former youthful freedom fighter, I have become sensitized to any attempts to calm our folk down, when they should be permitted to express themselves peacefully to let it out, rather than to be pummelled to be calmed down by what appear to be some self-righteous gag orders, because someone has an issue with what they may have to say.
And I do believe most folk are well aware and do not need to be reminded that the courts will be the ultimate judge in the abovementioned matter. So, in the meantime, there are two sides to every story, so let our folk peacefully have their say.
Name withheld at author’s request.
My husband’s brother’s wife likes to flirt with my husband and pretend there is something going on between them. When she had a baby she even went so far as to say it might actually be my husband’s child, not her husband’s, but we know that is not possible because he had a vasectomy years before she got pregnant.
Both husbands just ignore her behaviour but I worry about what our families might think.
Queenie, how do I deal with all this?—Angry wife
Have a paternity test done and if the subject comes up you can show proof that the baby is not your husband’s. Then try to ignore this woman’s nonsense.
You might also suggest that she get professional counselling, because it appears she has mental issues.