Published On: Wed, Oct 4th, 2017

The fourth estate

In times of crisis you get to know not only yourself but also your friends and, if you have any, your enemies. The role of the media during a crisis is ambiguous, though the bottom line remains the same. A free press is there to keep its readers abreast of whatever the authorities are up to.

So where should our focus be? On everything that goes wrong? Or on the tireless energy utilities companies, government workers, private companies and individual citizens are putting into making St. Maarten whole again?

We’re aware of the Peter Principle: everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Successful entrepreneurs will tell you that they ended up where they are today because they learned from their mistakes. Where men and women are at work, mistakes will be made.

Those who stay in the sidelines, and never do anything are always quick to criticize those mistakes, thereby losing sight of what has been accomplished.

Against this background it should not surprise anyone that companies that provide basic services, like electricity and water, become the target of such criticism.

We understood on Monday that Gebe had taken a hit from the infamous gossip website SMN-News. We don’t know the content of the article, because we don’t waste time on reading baseless and nonsensical information. It is also irrelevant.

That management and employees of Gebe are still on their feet and soldiering on is one of the miracles of our time. Like many others, they too have lost their homes or they have had to deal with the damages Hurricane Irma inflicted on their properties but they understood their priorities and put their work before their private concerns. These people deserve our support.

Critical journalism by the fourth estate will always remain an essential part of life in a constitutional state like St. Maarten. But right now our focus will be on supporting every effort to make our island whole again, not on all those things that will inevitably go wrong from time to time.