Every man to his trade

Dear Editor,

  Politics has no place in the police force. Someone else’s brother is the same to them as your brother is to you. If your mother commits a crime, others are going to see it as “that woman committed a crime. which means you have to perform your duties without distinction”. No one is above the law.

  The police officer is the only person who can arrest everyone. The only politician directly involved in the police force is the Minister of Justice and that is not always the case. In the government apparatus there is a term “plichtsverzuim” which in English is “dereliction of duty” or “derelict of duty”. Any government employee who is guilty of dereliction of duty is liable to be punished consistent with the punishment also laid down in the law. The punishments range from extra service without pay to dismissal . Somewhere in between there is “suspension”. The conditions determining the severity of the punishment vary from department to department.

  This includes the police also. On assuming his employment the police officer is sworn in and takes an oath. You may ask yourself where is this going? In the paper of August 27, I read that the officer in charge of the traffic accident whereby a person died was suspended for “failing to provide all relevant and correct information to his supervisors based on which further action could be taken regarding that fatal accident”. That did not sit well with me, because I had never heard of this before.

  There is a list of authorities who are automatically notified when there is a fatal accident. Let me state that I was not present at the accident. I have no proof of anything concerning that accident. All that I know is what was related to me. Reliable of course, otherwise I would not write to you.

  I was told that the motorbike rider was following his road when a motor vehicle coming from the opposite direction made a left turn in front of him to enter a private gateway on the left side of the road and the two vehicles collided with the ensuing consequence. Fatal accidents happen all the time, but what I did not understand was what is the actual cause of this suspension.

  So, I pondered about it. Because of what I know and because of what the schoolchildren have been saying, it brought me back to a similar question I asked in a few letters ago. If there is no one who knows how to deal with traffic accidents, who must that officer give that information to? I’m thinking of karma, because I am sure that I have had conversations concerning the lack of expertise.in the different departments of the police force.

  Let me ask this question. Did that police officer cause the death of that person involved in the accident? Were there other authorities present at the scene of the accident? Were there any superiors on the scene of the accident to oversee that the right measures, measurements, photos etc. were taken?

  Usually when it concerns a fatal accident the investigation could reveal that articles of other laws – for example, the penal code, etc. – were violated. With teamwork of the supervisor and the investigating police officer all of this could be detected. So, my question is, does not the chief of police know that this is how it works or is it possible that because there are people, as we would say, high up in government, intruding in the police affairs, that that decision was taken to suspend that police officer?

  By now we should know that nothing hides in St. Maarten, because we always have to let someone know what we did And because every friend has a friend, on this 16 square miles of land, within the shortest while, news gets around. Much more so in this era of enhanced social media. I said this to someone not too long ago and that person asked me how come then they don’t spread the positive things? Because, bad and negative news sells.

  When a police officer is suspended there should have been dereliction of duty, So my question is, can anyone of his superiors who are involved in the reason for the suspension of that police officer put on paper what the grounds of his suspensions are? I am thinking, if that police officer, owing to the lack of knowledge or expertise, is not able to be able to investigate a fatal traffic accident and in so doing was not able to “provide all relevant and correct information”, who should actually be liable?

  I believe it comes down to “if I do not have a gun I cannot shoot”. Where are the lawyers who want a beautiful case? I believe that this is also a great opportunity for the Ombudsman to justifiably find out the reason for the constant grumbling of the people in connection with the non-functioning of the police force. The people of a peaceful country deserve to know that they can rely on their police force to do that which is expected. But what can we expect when every two years we change the Minister of Justice of which only one had law experience.

  Anything was slapped in the face of the people after they faithfully voted. I must be fair and admit that I believe that the present Minister of Justice has St. Maarten at heart, but I do not think that she was dealt a fair hand. Usually there are no deals to be made by the justice department and people are punished for wrongdoing, so being the Minister of Justice is not usually a popular position.

  Instead of suspending that police officer, my advice would be to send two police officers for a special course in traffic accidents investigation.

  Am I the only person aware of all of these shortcomings? A traffic sign which was damaged could be straightened, painted and serve its purpose until it could be replaced with a new one.

  Talking about traffic signs, what about a police officer and an employee from VROMI going out together to check on those signs which need to be repaired or replaced so that they can temporarily do their duty in regulating the traffic situation.

  By the way, I am ashamed of whoever is responsible for the placing of that bus stop sign right in the intersection on Back Street. Instead of interfering with the police work, people in government should try contributing by pointing out that which is obvious. Schoenmaker blijf bij je leest.

  Now this: Because government is hell-bound to have people vaccinated even though increasingly doctors all over the world are dismissing whatever theory was put out there concerning the vaccine, which by the way began with one and then two and now it is up to a fourth vaccine that is necessary to combat COVID-19. The fact that it is said that four vaccines are necessary and nothing definitive concerning the cure or eradication of COVID-19 is proven should tell anyone that governments all over the world are grasping at straws (or not?).

  My thoughts are my thoughts and right now I am thinking that government are proving to be going about it in a very inhumane manner in trying to force the vaccine on the people. Why should someone who has been working for about 20 years for the same company be threatened with dismissal because that person refuses to take the vaccine and holds firmly to their constitutional rights? If government does not protect that person then government is on the verge of creating a dictatorship.

  At the same time I would hold those who are in charge of government liable for the consequences. Social distancing should become the new norm, then why is government not insisting for the bus drivers to maintain that which is laid down for buses regarding social distancing. Not longer than this morning (Sunday) I saw two people get into Bus-193, both had masks, but one had his under his chin. I could not see how many persons were in that bus, because every glass on that bus is black. This is the kind of behavior which causes the rapid increase in positive COVID-19 cases and not the idea that people are not taking the vaccine. We should not try to enforce something which is constantly heavily disputed by the professionals in that field.

  The last I heard is that the majority counts, and that democratic lawmakers always have advisers who are professional in their field. With all the logical explanations that I have heard and read about this COVID-19 saga, I strongly doubt that this is the case. I will repeat: I am not telling or advising anyone to take or not to take the vaccine. Government has to let the people know the truth. It does not interest me who financed whose campaign, stop permitting employers to take advantage of employees who take a stand against infringement of their constitutional rights.

  If we so sincerely want to save lives, we are aware that the majority of those who caught COVID-19 recovered without being vaccinated. Why not make it a priority to widely advise the population of the preventive measures and medicines? Take those tints off those buses and maintain that social-distancing law or policy and do not forget to control those gypsies.

  Without little St. Maarten those in government would not be able to enjoy the life like they are doing. One should not foul one’s own nest.

Russell A. Simmons