Who is in charge?

Dear Editor,
Which Minister of Government does not need the cooperation of the Minister of Justice? I am asking this because it is a while now that I am constantly hearing that the police are not working. People might say that because I was one, I am coming out in their defense. No such a thing. There is a lot more that they can do, but whose fault is it?
I blame the police brass for just sitting back and folding their arms waiting for things to happen. I also blame the Prosecutor’s Office for not getting together with the police brass and asking them what is wrong? Why are there no parking tickets, etc.?
The police cannot work if every Minister of Government, instead of governing according to the law, is governing according to their policy.
As a young boy I did not quite understand what my father meant when he would let my mother know that he did not always agree with her policies of correcting the children but because he was not at home all the time and things were not so bad, she could go ahead.
As I grew older my father, who at one time or the other would always explain to us the use of certain words, among the other things that he explained was the use of the word “policy”. He said policy can lead to corruption because policy is too often adopted by politicians based on one’s selfish desires and not necessarily in the interest of the public.
Two questions. 1) Why are residents of St. Maarten being harassed by their own immigration on their return to St. Maarten? And why are the Governor and the prime Minister accepting this policy? There is a word in workforce called “Arbeid contractant” and for the longest of while now that six-months contract has been used to the detriment of thousands of people. Never anything personal, but government has to stop this malpractice, because one cannot stop a resident with a Dutch passport from coming back home. One should not have to be literally harassed to get back to their own country. When we deport foreigners we send them back home. We don’t put conditions.
2) The former Afoo supermarket has a parking lot which spans between E.C. Richardson Street and Cannegieter Street. This parking lot is manned by a security guard who makes sure that the parking lot is only used by shoppers of the supermarket. Next to the supermarket on Cannegieter Street there is an area destined for stopping and eventually parking for everyone. It has become common practice that at the end of the day the proprietor of that supermarket has the employees stack up a whole lot of pallets in that special place for stopping or parking so that during the evening and night no one else could stop or park in that area.
Formerly people going to Anglican church could find a space to park. Of late the whole area is cordoned off so that people going to church have to park in the parking lot next to Nisbeth Road. I am aware of the fact that several people have questioned the police on this behavior. The last information that I got is that the police told some people that the owners of that supermarket got permission from government to cordon off that area, whereas the supermarket has its own parking lot and its own land warehouse space near the supermarket.
This is very difficult for me to swallow because police do not work that way. VROMI [Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure – Ed.] is in charge of that. I am inclined to believe that the supermarket owners feel themselves empowered to do as they like because they are constantly getting away with murder here in St. Maarten.
This is why I mentioned “policy” in my letter to you, because this is not the only place where such a practice is carried out. When one drives from Bernhard Bridge via A.Th. Illidge Road to Madame Estate, on that stretch there are along with other businesses 13 supermarkets of which only one has adequate parking while by all the others the traffic is constantly stagnated because of motor vehicles reversing from the front of those supermarkets or delivery trucks unloading freight.
Equally as there is a time frame stipulated for heavy equipment to be on the road, so also we used to have those delivery trucks deliver early in the morning or after six o’clock in the evening.
It is time for every Minister of government to start working according to what is stipulated by law and forget those policies. It is no secret that people in government are continually investigated and we have seen videos on WhatsApp where names of politicians who were locked up and are on their way to jail were mentioned.
Since I’m busy let me mention this. It is time for I believe it is the TEATT [Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication] Minister to oblige especially those supermarket cashiers to give the shoppers a receipt.
That is the law. Prices in supermarkets vary constantly and every week there is an increase in price even though the products are taken from the same container. Without a receipt the shopper cannot verify anything that was bought. And there are also products which do not have the price on them. Is this the way we say we are taking care of the citizens of the country? Really? Are we?
I would suggest giving those employees at the airport who are checking EHAS [Electronic Health Authorization System] a course in price control. I believe that when that system is righted the correct taxes would be paid, and the people would have a little more spending power because the money would be distributed in the right way. What should I think when I’m standing in the row to be checked in and I hear someone saying in Papiamento, “I wonder if St. Maarten and Aruba are sharing that money that we have to pay for these tests?” Honesty is still the best policy. I know it, I was there. There are a lot of those who got caught, who would admit that crime does not pay.
By the way, I believe that measures should be taken to have those GEBE bills rectified without threatening people to cut the light and water.
Already the consumers are not protected by the price-gouging of the supermarkets and hardware stores. Now we have to contend with GEBE’s guessing game because of cat-and-mouse behaviour with the people’s property among the employees, who, by the way, got paid because that portion of the grid could be retrieved.

Russell A. Simmons

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