Do we deserve this?

Dear Editor,

  Over the many years of corresponding with you, your readers might have realised that I do not discriminate when it concerns crime. I also usually state that “Not because a person is a well-known thief, means that every robbery that was committed, was committed by that person.” I have also learned over the years that that saying “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are” is also not immutable. It is also not biblical, because that would require “judging”.

  What I know though is that “where there is smoke, there is fire”. When I read that letter written to you by Stuart Johnson concerning the Chairperson of Parliament [Rolando Brison – Ed.], my first reaction was “they caught another one”. Why that reaction? Simple. That was the “modus operandi” of a popular hotel owner here on St. Maarten, targeting influential people in government to provide complimentary rooms.

  I know this because of advice asked of me by someone who found himself in a similar situation /predicament. He told me at that time that he felt trapped because this hotel owner said to him in front of other people that he had not seen him since the last time he gave him the room. As I have always done, I tactically avoided the issue by claiming that we are not allowed to advise anyone on how to avoid the consequences of wrongdoing.

  I am not stating that what I have read about Stuart Johnson and the Chairperson of Parliament concerns that same resort owner, but again there are back-to-back articles in the paper about the unacceptable behavior of our leaders in government.

  Is only every four years the only possible way of getting rid of this reprehensible behavior? There is no doubt in my mind that Stuart Johnson could have ulterior motives for bringing up the past with those comments and questions, but it would not surprise me if it does not become a back-and-forth melee. However, this does not take away that when it is not one it’s another member of Parliament or Minister whose irresponsible and discredited behavior is in question and brought to light. Is this the kind of behavior that we would want for our children to look up to?

  So, my question is, what do we expect our teachers to instill in the pupils when the pupils are continuously reading about the not-so-admirable conduct of those who, as the saying goes, “get away with murder” just because of being an elected official?

  When I came here in 1975 one of the things that I realized very early is that everybody knew everybody’s habits and would notice when those habits changed and remark on them. Strange enough, after 46 years and so much change of immigrants not much has changed. The constant advancement of modern technology has constantly provided the opportunity to be able to survey each other. It amazes me that our political leaders (public figures) have not figured this out yet. At least they should know that the schoolchildren have an eight-out-of-ten average in knowing at least eighty percent of the truth about what is going on.

  So, when I read that the Prime Minister is furious about the leaks and what steps she would like to see taken, I am inclined to believe her and even applaud her for that. I also would like to applaud the Prime Minister for the extensive explanation given in connection with the Minister of VROMI-Ombudsman dispute. I would even go as far as to suggest for your readers to clip that article out and save it and once in a while use it as a conversation piece. I believe that this is the understanding that everyone should have about how to go about life in and out of government.

  This is why I do not agree with MP Emmanuel calling out the Prime Minister for not bringing down the hammer on Minister Doran. I wonder if the MP is familiar with John 8:7. By now your readers should have noticed that the MP is very energetic in hammering on the negative.

  I was always taught to be the best of whatever you are. So, if I am an elected politician and I am in government all I have to do is to do my best, be fair and I will have nothing to fear. But as soon as our politicians get in government their first and main objective is to make sure they stay in government. So, all of a sudden there is this metamorphosis. And instead of doing the right thing they embark on breaking each other down. My strong belief is that this is mostly for public observation, because they all consistently hang out with each other.

  I grew up hearing that saying, “birds of a feather flock together” and “if you scratch my back I will scratch yours”. But this is supplying the Justice department of the Kingdom with all kinds of material to have too many of them indicted. I was still pondering, if in an environment where the understanding is, if you don’t rat me out I will not rat you out, why does MP Emmanuel want the Prime Minister to put more pressure on Minister Doran?

  Then it hit me. Is the MP pulling for the Ombudsman, in order for the Ombudsman to be lenient in case the Ombudsman finds old skeletons in the VROMI closet? The fear is that if the Over the Bank affair wakes up the sleeping dog, the dog might go straight to the closet and somebody is afraid that the dog might find skeletons. Now, in order to avoid the dog from barking too loud they are hurrying to pet the dog. What I know is that dogs do not care for rats. So we’ll see.

  But somebody reminded me that that technicality the last time, did not sit too well. I honestly hope there is no sequel, because It is high time that our people in government realize that they are all fighting a losing battle and in doing so are constantly dragging St. Maarten in the mud. I would love to see somebody in VROMI show some integrity without asking what’s in it for me and clean up and straighten out the situation on Walter J. Nisbeth Road.

  In saying that, let me say this. I know that every citizen is allowed to voice their opinion respectfully, even by asking questions to our political leaders. Civics teach you that. For some reason or the other, of late people ask me why does not the Prime Minister fix her road? I know the reason, but my answer will remain, “ask her.” I will not promote gossip.

Russell A. Simmons