By now I believe that your readers are aware that even though “I love my mother to death”, my father was very instrumental in forming me so that I have become the man I am today. “Look me in the eye when speaking to me.” “Never lie, only cowards lie.” “Respect your mother, your sisters and respect women on the whole.” “Avoid being biased.” “If you are speaking about others, avoid hearsay.” “Don’t mix up he and she.” And I can go on and on with the advice he gave me. Because he was a seaman and was not at home everyday, he gave me a copybook and a pencil and told me to write down what I thought was important in that copybook. so that we could discuss it another day.
In several letters I have stated to you that because of the job I did, I accepted to be fair game. So would it also be if anyone responded to my writing in a mature responsible way.
I do not speak with water in my mouth and am therefore careful not to intentionally offend anyone. I do not oblige anyone to do so, but if the shoe fits anyone that person should wear it. I have been following the saga between the police and the present honorable minister of justice and wanted to know the real reason behind this back and forth.
Because I firmly believe that you should not bite the hand that feeds you, and because I know that it is not realistic for the police to strike against their minister of justice, I used a sprat to catch the whale. It took some patience, but I believe that gradually my suspicions are being confirmed. I always wanted to know why was it necessary for the members of the NAPB to chose a lawyer, when they themselves could form a delegation to have meetings with the minister of justice to discuss their grievances and also have suggestions how to to cope with the changes that life on St. Maarten brings along.
Then on the front page of the paper of the Tuesday, November 7, edition, there was an article about the NAPB. During a live broadcast on Lady Grace’s talk show, members of the NAPB openly and categorically distanced themselves from that article by the lawyer of the NAPB, Cor Merx, which by the way was the only sane thing I heard coming from the police in that interview. Must I assume that the police are telling the public that frisk-and-search is something strange to them? What do they do when family members bring clothes or other belongings to the station for the detainees?
But in putting two and two together, I got a strange but understandable four. Is the former prosecutor, who is of that nation whose motto is “I will get you one day”, using the NAPB to get back at those who fired him?
I worked for 41 years as a police officer and one of the things that my father made sure he did was to consistently call me and ask me to take time out to ask myself who I really was, He always reminded me that if I was enjoying the job I was doing, then I did not have to work. Once I answered him that he should be here for Carnival. He would say to me, “I know that you are not afraid, but make sure do not be naive.”
In those 41 years I have learnt that the minister of justice and the police brass usually consult with each other before going outside. It is not today that there is a problem with personnel shortage at the prison. I do not have any inside information concerning that and I also know that some things are easier said than done, but logic would tell me that because of the shortage in both police and prison personnel, a decision should have been made to recruit 10 to 15 people, specifically to deal with the detainees at the police stations.
I do not know what is what, but what I know is that a solution has to be found because the community of St. Maarten is not being served. I hope that they are not at loggerheads. I still prefer honey to vinegar when it comes to catching flies.
Russell A. Simmons