I was asked

Dear Editor,
Many years ago my mother told me that my girlfriend told her that I have a soft heart. Especially when it concerns children. I did not know that it was that obvious, but I did not do anything to change it because I am very conscious of the fact that I had a good childhood which was also because of my village. So, when children ask me questions or when I think that they deserve attention/correction I try to do so.
It has become more difficult these last years, because parents go as far as to go to the schools and threaten the teachers in the presence of their children. Yes, the teachers who spend more hours in a day with almost all of the schoolchildren. Because of the working hours of the parents, by the time the children get home from school many parents have just left for work or are working. Sometimes two jobs, so the parents mostly mothers, communicate with their children by phone. When those mothers get home it is almost their children’s bed time, so when we add up those hours the teachers spend, an average of seven hours per day, with the children in school, whereas we are not sure how many waking hours the parents spend with their children.
I will never forget what my father told me when I had just started to work as a police officer: “Try your utmost not to do anything wrong or vicious in the presence of children. Children become what they see, not what you tell them.” Another thing he told me was always try to avoid reprimanding parents in the presence of their children.
I have always stated that I do not believe in writing other people’s opinion, but I could not deny this one. A 14-year-old boy said to me that the Lions, the Rotary all those service clubs always have fundraising for some project with a certain monetary goal.
St. Maarten is full of number places where people buy numbers every day. Even on Sundays. I don’t know how many people we have working on St. Maarten, but if government could regulate it so that each one of those workers leaves one guilder every two weeks for charity, that money could be distributed under supervision for those kinds of fundraisings, sports trips, etc.
Right now we have more non-St. Maarteners than St. Maarteners and my father told me that every country makes immigration laws to accommodate the status of the population. So maybe the government can do that. I am not sure if that is really the case, but I do not think it is farfetched.
He started to say that they could drink one less beer per week, but I told him that he should never mess with a person’s pleasure when asking them for something. I told him I would ask around to hear what people in that field would think can be a heal sore. That was for me a big thing because of who it was coming from.
Oh, I almost forgot. He said they should include the gypsies also, because he does hear his money complaining of not having money to pay the gypsy drivers.
Now this. My cousin called me from the USA and asked me, “Who is the Bill Gates of St. Maarten?” I told her that I don’t know. So, she asked if we do not have a magazine like Forbes on the island. I could not give an affirmative answer. “So how do the people of St. Maarten know who they are making all of that money for?” That also I do not know, but since it’s published I can ask the Editor of the newspaper and see if he can work on something like that. I am sure the newspaper here on St. Maarten will not fall in the Bill Gates category. Besides, I don’t think that printing the truth is spreading rumors or falsehoods.
She said, “Governments work with a budget for the future which has to be approved and also there have to be checks and balances in government and accountability. But oftentimes there is a deficit. We know that political campaign money comes from businesses and favors are granted in return. For instance, campaign contribution becoming a tax write-off, etc.
“Because the businesspeople have the money and money is power, it is a fact and all of these things are out there, and the people should know who the Bill Gates of St. Maarten are. Just like the people in government and of government are open game, so should the wealthy be also. That is why Forbes can publicize all that information without liable of being sued. Businesspeople, people in sports, movie stars, etc., all of them rely on the financial support of the people so they find themselves accountable to the people. You should ask those questions.”
So, Editor, who are the richest individual residents on St. Maarten? I hope that they are banking here also?
By the way, that young man thanked me for defending the schoolchildren who were, as it were, forbidden by the Minister of Finance to take part in that number plate competition..
The bulk of the money in a country is usually in the hands of few.
Those few, because of their wealth, have influence on politicians.
Politicians rely on the people to vote them into office. So, the people are entitled to know who they are making the money for.

Russell A. Simmons

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