I believe that the consequence of constantly changing or replacing people in decision-making positions is exactly what is happening here on our island. No consistency in government. I constantly ask myself: where is the proof of continuity in government?
The only continuity in government is the lack of price control. I believe King Bobo got it exactly right with his calypso "Sint Maarten strong" and I have to add that with all the unstable governments we have had, Sint Maarten people are still coping with all the calamities. We have not deserted our Sweet Sint Maarten. It might not be the most ethical way, but I believe strongly and because of past experience in judging that "Sint Maarten strong" should be the Sint Maarten Carnival Road March song for 2022. I would even venture to call it the 2022 Sint Maarten Carnival anthem.
I am not sure what the reasoning is behind government constantly publishing the number of number plates sold this year. The only message in my concept that it is sending is that we must prepare for stickers. It is time for people in government to realize that legacy is not what they do, but how what they do make the people feel. Because it is Carnival season, and even though what I am going to say is about myself, what left a lasting impression on the people of Sint Maarten and many visitors is the way I directed the Carnival. No longer than Thursday last, some people met me in the parking lot and told me that I was going to live long, because just a few days before they were talking about me, and how I directed the Carnival parades, and suddenly they met up with me after not having seen me for a while. That is an example of legacy.
Not what you try to impress on people, but the impression you leave on them because of what you did. Since 2017 we have been having problems with number plates. No, not number plates, because the number plates do not run the show, it is those people in government who have been constantly asking, "What's in it for me?" I went on the road in 1966 and from then already the motor vehicle tax administration of both Aruba and Curaçao was bigger than the present motor vehicle administration of Sint Maarten. I hate to have to think that it is incompetence, but how big is that administration that we are consistently having problems with numberplates.
What about copying the good things? In calculating I have concluded that an average of more than three thousand numbers have not been paid for. Three thousand or more unpaid numbers is far too many for a country with a road infrastructure like Sint Maarten to go undetected. Between the police, the Receiver’s and the motor vehicle inspection office, this should never be possible. We have the resources to do things right. The control on motor vehicle taxes is not diligent enough.
Looking for and noticing are not the same. They also do not require the same amount of energy. When the number plates are changed yearly, those which are not paid for, stick out like a sore thumb, whereas checking stickers would be like looking for a needle in a haystack.
It would be advisable to start painting the pedestrian crossings and the lines dividing the roads and intersections, etc. Paint the lines on the roundabouts so that the drivers do not drive in the middle of the road, defeating the purpose of the roundabout. We need more physical attention at busy intersections during rush hour. These are requests from people to me to write to you about. I write about it because this is also my opinion. My opinion for the longest while now is that we should regulate public transportation. Both administrative as well as the bus stops all over the island. This would slow down illegal transportation and all of those gypsy drivers would have to do that which they were permitted by immigration to come here and do. Pay their rightful taxes and we will start getting rightful order in the place.
We want our sweet Sint Maarten land back. We have to put our administration in order. So that we can see the trees again. When we can really see who the rightful heirs to Sint Maarten are, then we can start thinking about independence. Up to now my question remains: "Independence from whom for whom?" .
Russell A. Simmons