In selecting ‘Leopold’s top persons for the year-, we looked at a number of criteria such as consistency-, courage-, informative-, empowering-, transcending.
All of these-, in our opinion-, individually-, and certainly collectively contribute a significant ‘added value’ to our community in a variety of ways.
Especially-, when in making this contribution-, the persons took risks of going up against the ‘status quo’-, politically-, and or socially.
History shows,- that people-, who normally take on the established society-, based on a strong principle-, and belief-, never receive any recognition.
Certainly-, they do not ‘receive their flowers’-, while still alive.
That distinction is mostly-, reserved for people-, who obediently conform with the established order,- even when injustice is committed by-, or are condoned by the powers that be.
These men-, and woman of the Year-, with due respect to those who truly are deserving-, are selected based on their ‘popularity-ratings’
In coming to the selection of ‘Leopold’s top 5 persons-, the fact that whether or not the candidate was a supporter-, or critic of Leopold JAMES-, was irrelevant.
Needless to state-, that not everyone will necessarily agree with our selection-, but that can hardly be considered surprising.
Still-, the selections were not easy-, and it is very well possible-, that we might have overseen others-, who otherwise would have deserved our recognition in ‘Leopold’s top 5.
Our number one selection is the ST.MARTIN PEOPLE.
They fall in a category all by themselves.
No one can deny that our St. Martin people-, are transcending to a ‘next level’ of awareness-, and political maturity.
As such-, it is an extremely hopeful sign that St. Martin people no longer accept being taken for granted-, or being governed by incompetent-, corrupt politicians.
Never before-, have we seen-, nor heard St. Martin people confront their political leaders as during this year.
Consequently-, politicians are learning that if they do not properly represent the people-, that there will be consequences.
The disgrace surrounding former minister of Health, Mrs. Maria BUNCAMPER-MOLANUS-, is a clear indication-, that politicians will be held accountable for abusing their office for self-enrichment.
If this trend continues in 2011-, and there is no reason to doubt that-, we might see a new ‘breed of politicians assuming office.
All of this would not have been possible without a very courageous media.
In recent times-, the people of this island-, have been truly blessed by excellently investigative reporting-, on a level never seen before on the island.
With respect to the other media-house on the island-, which really did its job-, without an shadow of any doubt-, both Bibi HODGE-SHAW and Hilbert HAAR, have done an immense service to the St. Martin people-, by having gone ‘beyond ’good reporting
For that outstanding and professional reporting-, for us Bibi and Hilbert are ‘Leopold’s number one persons of the year.
Bibi HODGE-SHAW-, is a very well known-, and recognized hardworking-,investigative journalist-, who is not easily intimated by officials in high positions-, when it comes to get to the ‘bottom’ of the story.
In order to be able to bring first breaking news-, Bibi has taken lots the risks many of her colleagues avoid.
In doing so-, she has for being on the ‘mark’ in most cases-, in terms of the credibility of her report.
Bibi’s website has become one of the most important medium for information relevant to local-, native St. Martiners-, residing on the island-, as well as abroad.
As such-, her site-, is the most accessible-, and sought after platform for those with views not necessarily in line with the socio-economic and political establishment.
By allowing for bloggers to respond to issues-, Bibi has given the common man a very potent means to voice his opinion-, which politicians take very seriously.
Sharing the number one spot with Bibi is-, Mr. Hilbert HAAR-, managing-editor of the TODAY newspaper.
Mr. HAAR and Mr. Leopold JAMES-, have never seen ‘eye to eye’ on most issues in the past.
In addition-, there was no ‘love lost’ between the two of them.
However-, after having been interviewed by Mr. HAAR in connection with St. Martin Day, 2010-, both gentlemen have learned to understand the motives-, and driving forces of each other.
Consequently-, without now being the best of ‘buddies’-, a mutual respect has developed between both of them.
They realize that they both in their own ways-, mean well for this island-, but they acknowledge that they do such from different social-, and cultural background.
Despite their many clashes in the past-, Mr. JAMES, would not be the person he really is-, if he would not have the professional ethics to publicly acknowledge the tremendous contribution Mr. HAAR has been making towards the empowering of the people of the island-, by exposing corruption in Government in a very courageous manner.
In return for dong what few media-houses have ever done-, especially as non-St. Martin professionals-, it is our privilege to select both Bibi and Hilbert as Leopold’s number persons of 2010.
Coming in as number two-, is Mr. Eldrige van PUTTEN-, the island’s most undisputed-, and outspoken activist.
Despite having being consistently ridiculed -, and undermined by certain talk show-hosts-, Eldrige never stopped calling in to get his points across.
In particular-, more than any other person-, Eldrige warned about the financial consequences of the new status for the island’s budget-, when few people believed him.
During the final debates between the political parties-, in the Cultural Center-, Eldrige directly confronted the leaders with deceiving the public on the real financial status of the island. Most people in the audience-, felt that Eldrige was out of place-, and creating fear for the new status.
Recent reports on the humongous budget deficit have proven him right.
Our number three-, is none other than Mr. Gerard BIJNSDORP also known as the ‘driftwood artist’-, and ‘Unpaid adviser’ to so many within our community.
Undoubtedly-,Gerard is blessed with a great-, and natural talent to use satire to brilliantly expose what he considers to be wrongdoings within our community.
As such-, he has spared no-one, including Leopold JAMES-, administrator of this site.
Gerard must be credited for having been extremely consistent-, and un-intimidated by his critics.
In particular-, Gerard stands out above most letterwriters-, by having the courage to always identify himself.
For taking responsibility- and accepting accountability for his articles-, Gerard can be considered a ‘role-model’ for many within our community.
Should Gerard-,manage in the future to become more constructive in offering solutions-, as opposed as to mainly ridicule-, nothing will prevent him becoming a real contender for the number one position.
‘Leopold’s number 4 pick-, is Charles, Jeffrey RICHARDSON, leader of the CPA.
For standing up against all odds (money, ridicule, starting from scratch, being abandoned etc) for St. Martiners to come first-, and to preserve the traditional way of life of St Martiners-, which is the embodiment of the spirit of the Treaty of Concordia.
Jeffrey has proven to have enormous political potential as one of the leaders for this island.
Had he been more consistent -, and more reliable as a true transcendental political alternative-, to the many people who sought his continued leadership after the elections-, he would have been a serious contender ‘Leopold’s number one person of the year 2010.
The fact is-, that never-, has there been a more urgent need for a transcending native St. Martin political leader that presently.
A leader-, able to create a completely new ‘paradigm ‘in terms of carving out a very clear-, and compelling direction for a unified island-, and to take the Treaty of Concordia to the ‘next level -, for instance as the very basis for the constitution of a unified St. Martin.
Many thought-, and still think that Jeffrey has the potential to fulfill that role.
Time will tell.
Our number five person of the year 2010 is Mr. Olivier ARRINDELL.
Whatever one might think of this young man-, his potentials-, intellect can not be denied-, and should not be under-estimated.
To his credit-, it must be also admitted that Olivier has matured tremendously-, allowing for his potential to manifest itself-, as opposed to trying to impress people-, ‘ad nauseum’, as he did in the past
As a young man-, Olivier has a great knowledge-,creative intelligence-, and vision of the modern world-, which-, if properly managed can be of a great asset to development of the island.
Should Olivier be able to keep on track-, and to control his ego-, nothing will prevent him from becoming a very powerful factor to deal with.
In ending we refer our readers to our editorial ‘The value of Leopold’s Person of the Year recognition.’