Published On: Thu, Oct 19th, 2017

Gracita: “A Sint Maarten ‘Marshall Plan’ is needed now”

Gracita Arrindell

PHILIPSBURGGracita states: “in the aftermath of hurricane Irma, the statue of  ‘One Tete Lokeh’ located at the round-about in Belair is symbolic of our present state of rebuilding efforts. Still strong, but hanging on a thread of hope and prayer.  Waiting, patiently to be straightened fastened and look tall, strong and fearless again. Many individuals are still cleaning and rebuilding as much as possible under the present circumstances to get our island back on its feet soonest. However, in order for the economy to rebound effectively, it is clear that a massive injection of financial aid is needed.  Financial aid pared with sound and firm decision-making. There is no question about that.

One Tete Lockay - Bend not Break

“THE STATUE OF  ‘ONE TETE LOKEH’, LITERALY HANGING ON ITS SIDE , SYMBOLIZES AND REFLECTS IN MANY WAYS  THE PRESENT STATE OF  AFFAIRS”

Let us be clear, Sint Maarten is an autonomous entity within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The more reason to appreciate and I applaud the practical approach of both the President of the European Parliament Mr. Antonio Tajani, and the President of the European Commission Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, for their prompt expressed support to the entire Sint Maarten/Saint Martin population.

What matters now is for our local elected and appointed representatives in office to step forward and act more decisively, for the sake of our People.

The ball is in our court.”

“EXPRESSED SOLIDARITY AND CONCRETE PROMISE OF AID  BY  THE DUTCH GOVERNMENT,  THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT & COMMISSION, AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL ENTITIES, MUST BE FOLLOWED UP BY IMMEDIATE AND DECISIVE  ACTIONS  BY BOTH GOVERNMENT AND PARLIAMENT OF SINT MAARTEN TO RECEIVE SUCH AID FOR THE PEOPLE OF  SINT MAARTEN”

Gracita states; “the expressed sentiments whether to accept the 2 conditions set forth by the Dutch government ( integrity chamber, border control together with our local teams for a period of time), and whether this is fair or unreasonable given the magnitude of the devastation is  an issue that  will see its merits (or not) after  implementation.  For the people’s sake, let us give the Dutch administration the ‘benefit of the doubt’ if it is indeed sincere to: ‘ensure that Sint Maarten recovers well its infrastructure, its administration’, and I hasten to add, its social-economic position within the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the region.  Holding off or rejecting the much needed aid now, is throwing away the baby with the bath-water.

If the actions of the Dutch government are mere words to overpower, (I don’t think it is), it will be clear, soon enough, the world is watching.”

Arrindell said: “ The many reports being worked on must soon translate into a practical, executable  ‘Sint Maarten ‘Marshall’ plans of action wherein the local population and business stands to benefit.  Action plans per sector, per district set within a short-mid and long-term time frame.  Many (young) people have left or are planning to leave. Those who stayed are willing and able to be re-trained for gainful employment. We cannot allow a brain-drain to take place. Many are going hungry in spite of the food aid supplied.”

Gracita concludes: “Let us be honest with our selves. We are very fortunate to be a small beautiful island with a relatively small population. A friendly island that attracted many nations to our shores that became home. Diversity is our strength. Hurricane Irma, literally blew our covers away and exposed many of our weaknesses (mediocre infrastructure, increased illegal immigration, over building, no recycling, etc etc). This is a great opportunity to do things right and really bring out the diamond that we are as a People and as a Island within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.”