I was six years old when my aunt convinced my mother for me to join the juveniles of the B.I.A. in Aruba. In those days one would ask: “What does B.I.A. stand for?” which is Benevolent Improvement Association. Nowadays one would use the word “acronym”. I can still hear us saying our motto which we repeated at least nine times at the beginning of every meeting which was kept on Wednesdays and started at 5:00pm – “Let decency be your guide.” Among us It became a game as well as a guide and reminder because every so often, when we were being mischievous, one of us would say, “Don’t forget ‘let decency be your guide’.”
I am thankful for that up to today, because that motto along with the very vigilant and hands-on upbringing of our parents and as we would say, my village, went a long way in forming me.
Where am I going with this? “Jacobs: Talks with Knops mark ‘new beginning’ for Netherlands, St.Maarten”, the headline of the first article on the front page of The Daily Herald of Monday, January 11, 2021. What I got out of that is that partners are now speaking to each other and not at each other.
Lovers quarrel, siblings fight with each other, friends quarrel, so why don’t we expect people of different cultures to be at loggerheads with each other? Who started it or where and when did it start are essentials in a deliberation, but the atmosphere under which the deliberation takes place as well as the attitudes often determine the outcome.
As we know, this is the impression that the majority of us have had when reading about the way in which Knops was going about his business. I am not condoning, nor neither will I encourage hostility. I would even advise diplomacy and I also understand very well that a few well-chosen words could get the attention of those who are under the impression that they have the upper hand. Of course, expecting a reaction.
I feel a little more relaxed after reading that article. The people need to know, so “transparency” is the key word here. And I hope for the sake of good governance that all partners and everyone would “let decency be their guide”.
In closing let me say this. A few days ago I met a politician and while speaking to each other I said, “Everything that happens in the country is the responsibility of the government.” The response was, “No sir!” So I said, “Think of what I said to you and I believe that you will say certain things differently or probably don’t say them at all publicly.” The response that I got was, “Have you told that to other politicians also?” I answered affirmatively.
I do not mind if that person would prove me wrong, because I would then expect to be corrected and the reason why not would be explained. This would be very well accepted, because I have been constantly complaining about the lack of “Civics” in our education system.
Russell A. Simmons