TODAY - The Newspaper for Country St. Maarten
Published On: Mon, Mar 27th, 2017

Putting our people first

elton-jones-526x500Dear Editor,

Our government has presented its governing program some six month after the elections which really was a continuation of the previous government not withstanding a few changed names. Government programs by nature are expected to inspire confidence in the business and investment community and pride and trust in our people. It primarily sets out a vision to where we are going and a path on how we intend to get there.

It is mostly based on people before all else including consideration for party affiliation or party color. One of the points highlighted from the program is the priority that government places on the sanitary land fill. This is in itself nothing new; we have heard the same thing for thirty years from different administrations that proved to be more political hype than action. In the meantime people’s health is deteriorating some with serious respiratory problems allegations of cancers caused by the carcinogens in the released gases. While I can’t speak to this directly I know that we have more medical issues today than before the dump became a permanent part of our daily lives.

The program failed to address the unfair criminalization of our people. To clarify I refer you to some cases of the last few years. Citizens are being charged and condemned for tax fraud and tax evasion and mostly civil servants politicians and business people who become too vocal. Let us be clear if not filing your tax returns is a criminal act we can start closing down our business center. (Front Street & Back Street). And if employing and illegal makes one guilty of human smuggling again take a walk through Philipsburg and Simpson Bay.

I have informed you in a previous article of the fact that our constitution permits us to be robbed of our human rights; unfortunately it didn’t prescribed by whom. It now seems clear that this awesome authority rest in the hands of the prosecutor’s office. We have learnt that persons who are detained for investigations are declared guilty by the prosecutor before their day in court and the confiscated goods are sold by the prosecutor even though there was no conviction.

A few things stick out here first and foremost we the people were made to believe that when confiscating property government not only publicizes it but sale is subsequently done by public bid. How else would we know that the prosecutor’s office didn’t just sell to their friends’ family or any other nefarious arrangement?

And going by statements made by the prosecution in a case involving a sick prisoner when asked who would be responsible if the person dies they simply put it “not me – Country St. Maarten” so by this same explanation our government can look forward to some future court cases.

We are still trying too hard to placate the Dutch who by my judgment care only to have things go their way.  They have spent ages denouncing us in the most derogatory ways as corrupt gangsters and not trustworthy. They have offered to sell us on E-bay, send us our independence by mail or if we would just make a phone call. We have had proposals from them to repatriate all our people back to the islands and now the varying passport colors of distinction. It is clear that contrary to what they claim the people they propose to help are not our people.

Since we don’t need them for paying our bills I can’t understand why we believe they should decide our way forward. Maybe I would have written a different government program but I will support my government if they put our people first and foremost. A lot of corrective work is needed; let’s get busy. Our people will look and listen.

Elton Jones