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Reaction to a ridiculous report of Council of Ministers --- COM.


What a thing about our cripple coalition government of COMFORT and CONVENIENCE accomodating mr.10% and our UP = the United Project and Profit Party of our "HONOURABLE oops HORRIBLE Parliamentarian ms.Gresha Heyliger Marten.
What will NA tell the people at the polls about unkept pledges and promises made to the people?
Yes, the people want to know NOW!
UP was "honest" with the electorates, the voters, and the people that they will only stand UP for PROFITS and PROJECTS!
Contrary or in contrast to NA who PLEDGED and PROMISED PROGRESS and PROSPERITY to the people at the polls.
People have been given a 6 for a 9 by NA because all that the unfortunate people are experiencing are perils, predicaments, and problems.
Delays and denials of our people's demands:
Such as:
1) increase of the starvation minimum wages to the cost of living in Country ST.Maarten,

2) the termination of the abusive 6 months labour contract,

3) increase on the ridiculous low old-age pension to the cost of living in Country St. Maarten,

4) the immediate execution of the Pamela Policy in its present feature, form or format that in the first and foremost instance or place hiring local St. Maarteners in the rebuilding process of Country and beyond.

What this cripple coalition government of COMFORT and CONVENIENCE is doing besides accommodating mr.10% is:

Delaying and denying people's demands to live a decent standard of living in Country St. Maarten.

NA you are an awful accomplice in an association with UP = the United Project and Profit Party!

It will be preposterous for electorates, voters or people to promote you on your poor performances at the polls.
This is not admiration but rather an accusation!
This is not a compliment but rather a complaint.
Most of all this is our public opinion on your poor and petty performances which is nothing less than:
Being a fake, a fraud, and a phony.
Your faults, flaws, and failures continue to be humps and hurdles to overcome your shortcomings and short-sightedness to govern Country St. Maarten productively and properly.

All we the unfortunate people in Country St. Maarten can do is:

Hope for the best but prepare for the worst!
Sally: Conclusion:

As long as NA and UP = the United Project and Profit Party cannot provide people with a preview on progress and prosperity their performances are and remain poor PERIOD!
Political preview of poor performances.
NA = National Alliance or Never Again party?

Edwin James.


Bigger than me indeed!

Mr. Editor,
There are many political opponents who are frustrated with the fact that I continue to hold this government accountable through means available to all of us. It has come to the point where they, their soldiers, and future candidates publicly display their frustration by stating I always have an article ready to go. I don’t know if to take that as a compliment, but I can inform Mr. Cloyd Marlin that I am always ready because his government is always predictable and predictably bad, including his Letter to the Editor. So yes, this response was ready too.
It should not be lost on anyone that the National Alliance, former champions of “right is right and wrong is wrong”, are now condoning actions and norms that it once promised the people of St. Maarten it would never condone. St. Maarten in the past 10 years has undergone severe ridicule locally, in The Hague, and internationally after being slapped with reports from Transparency International, being forced to establish an Integrity Chamber, and criticized for bad corporate governance and policies steeped in “vriendtjes politiek” at our government companies.
We have witnessed the detention and prosecution of well-known people and politicians in the community, sometimes for issues that could have been resolved in one afternoon at the tax office. But because Mr. Marlin sits on the opposite end of the political spectrum than I do, he writes that Ballast Nedam’s history should not matter in its securing of the airport reconstruction project. After everything we have gone through and defended, you would think we would have elevated our standards.
Mr. Marlin instead rolled out the predictable response; Chris trying to stop the project and stop people from eating. This argument is used to create the impression that this alone matters and I don’t care about people. Nobody at the airport is going to believe that drivel because they know who has been standing up for them from day 1, while members of Mr. Marlin’s party passed them straight when they were in Parliament like they didn’t matter, condoned the personal overspending by the CEO and denied workers proper pay and benefits.
Today, Mr. Marlin pretends to show concern while trying to make a political point. I think he may be confused as to what party he is still part of. Their care for people has long disappeared through the insulting and condescending statements of the National Alliance Ministers towards our people on every level.
My questioning of the Ballast Nedam affair is very simple: Wrong is wrong. It should not be that the measuring stick for St. Maarten is yards long and that for the Dutch and its established entities is non-existent. It should not be that St. Maarten is made to adhere to current and made-up regulations for everything under the sun, while others, like Ballast Nedam and Windward Roads, can have a history of corruption and criminal convictions which is not taken into account when it wants to operate on St. Maarten for a commercial benefit. We are called to account for anything that they suspect to be corrupt going back decades. In fact, we are punished for this. But we cannot hold them to the same standards.
If according to Mr. Marlin, the past doesn’t matter, then why have so many of our people been prosecuted and persecuted to the point that destroyed their lives and that of their family? Why, as rumors would have it, are others being mentioned in an old BTP investigation? Why is the history of individuals used to disqualify them from becoming Ministers in the screening process to become ministers, even when something happened when that person was a just teenager? Why does the World Bank have its policies against engaging with companies involved in corrupt practices and has a criminal history? In other words Mr. Marlin, what exactly is your point?
As a selling point for his argument, he mentioned that Ballast Nedam will ensure employment as if this is a favor that these companies do when they employ persons from the local workforce. Every company, local or foreign, is supposed to employ persons from the local workforce. It is the duty of the government to ensure this is adhered to, as it is the same government how would be requested to approve foreign work permits. Mr. Marlin as expected tried to use employment as a launching point to justify contracting Ballast Nedam, as if every company would not have been obligated to do the same.
To publicly dismiss and, worse yet, condone proven fraud and corruption, is the worst form of ignorance. Everyone, my person included, wants to see our airport returned to its glory days. If this government was transparent, honest, and forthcoming by simply answering questions, perhaps there would be no need to question procedures at the airport that have clearly been operating under a shroud of mystery for months. I get that Mr. Marlin condones and applauds these actions because he feels it might work in his political favor, but it goes against the very foundation we are trying to strengthen in this country.
If they are going to apply measures and regulations on my country and people, they should abide by the same. When they do not or appear that they do not, this MP will continue to push for answers in an attempt at forcing accountability.
The late, great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once stated: "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." He meant that willfully making a decision to live in error, conscious of the wrongs, is very dangerous to any society.
We should demand better for St. Maarten.
MP Christophe Emmanuel

Misinterpreted Laws.

Dear Editor
The current Landlord/Tenant laws are due for a complete overhaul. Laws that were written to protect hardworking tenants from unscrupulous landlords are being manipulated by lazy, shiftless bums, parasites who are working and using the laws to circumvent paying their rent and utility bills. No one should be allowed to use someone’s property free of charge. No one should be allowed to use utilities free of charge. Yet this is exactly what these con-artists are doing.
Because a landlord cannot lock a paying tenant out of his rented house, the same rule is being exploited by non-paying bums who call the police, and the non-payer must be let back into the house. This law needs to be revised. The landlord is also not allowed to turn off the utilities on a non-paying renter. Thus, GEBE comes in after two months and everyone is left in darkness.
Even going to the Rent Commission gives these people at least three months of rent-free living. By the time the case is called for a hearing, another two months have gone by. When the case is heard another month goes by before a decision is rendered. Then the renter gets another three months to find a place. That is almost a year of living rent-free. In the end, the landlord is out of months of income, plus he/she is left with a hefty utility bill which must be paid to get the utilities turned back on.
The non-payer has moved to another victim and is not held accountable. I am positive the law was not written with these intentions in mind, and they need to be amended as soon as possible. They must indicate that they apply to pay tenants ONLY. If you do not pay your rent, you can be locked out. You do not pay utilities; they are turned off. If the rent commission agrees with the landlord, besides being evicted, the non-paying renter should also be made to pay the outstanding rental and utility bills balance or go to jail. After all, it is stealing and that is a crime. If the laws are not changed then the Rent Commission should have a budget to reimburse the landlords for their losses by abiding by their rules.
What these con-artists are doing is criminal and crime should not pay. It is even more frustrating when a policeman who has sworn to uphold the law has to aid and abet these crooks in their criminal procedures by making the landlord open the door for these criminals.
I ask that you withhold my name in the event you deem it fit to print this letter.
Name Withheld upon Authors Request.

“DECOLONIZATION AND THE POLITICAL FUTURE OF THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS”

benitowheatley08062021“DECOLONIZATION AND THE POLITICAL FUTURE OF THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS”

INTRODUCTION

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.

Let me begin by thanking the Virgin Islands Studies Institute at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC), along with the Alliance of Talk Show Hosts, for the very kind invitation to participate in the Frederick Pickering Memorial lecture series.

I am very pleased to tag team today with international expert on governance and decolonization, Dr. Carlyle Corbin, who is a longtime friend and colleague. His presentation was thorough as usual.

Our lecture on decolonization picks up where part one of this series left off, which featured our very own internationally respected constitutional expert, Justice Gerard Ferrara QC, who made an excellent presentation on the recent constitutional history of the Territory.

Let me say at the outset that I am presenting in my personal capacity as a Virgin Islander who cares very deeply about the future of these Virgin Islands. My remarks today represent my own views and are not the official position of the Government. I also will not address the ongoing Commission of Inquiry as I believe it would be inappropriate for me to do so.

Ladies and gentleman, over the past seven months we have heard quite a bit about the next steps in the constitutional advancement of the Virgin Islands. Many good ideas have been shared about what additional provisions can be made to the existing constitution; what tweaks can be made to the Westminster model of Government to reduce friction in the political system; and how we can find a better constitutional balance between the Virgin Islands and the United Kingdom (UK). We have also heard the very serious concerns about Global Britain and what this very loose concept means for the Virgin Islands and other Overseas Territories (OTs).

All of these things are important and require our attention. However, I do not want us to get distracted from the one critical issue that must ultimately be addressed.

 

 

REFERENDUM ON POLITICAL STATUS

The single most important decision for the people of these Virgin Islands, is what year, at the very latest, a referendum on the future political status of the Territory will be held.

Let me repeat that. The single most important decision for the people of these Virgin Islands, is what year, at the very latest, a referendum will be held to decide the future political status of the Territory.

As Dr. Corbin has already mentioned, the full decolonization of the Virgin Islands requires us to go beyond our current political status as a Territory. We cannot remain an OT indefinitely. Our current status is a grey area in the international system in which we are not an integral part of UK, but still constitutionally linked to the UK. This leaves us in an awkward position of having a high degree of self-government, but a limited international legal personality in which to engage the outside world.

And let us not delude ourselves. There are colonial underpinnings to our constitutional relationship with the UK. The public registers issue is just one example of that. This is not to say that we have not made progress on decolonization, but that the process is incomplete. We should not continue to legitimize the status quo.

If we as a people are serious about the full decolonization of the Virgin Islands, we must debate and agree the latest year by which we will collectively make a decision on our political future.

I am not saying that we should have a referendum exclusively on independence, because that is not the only option sanctioned by the UN. There are also integration and free association options, which have been mentioned many times in recent months. The Virgin Islands Youth Parliament did a masterful job in debating the question of self-determination in which these options were considered.

However, ladies and gentleman, the immediate priority is not which option we choose. We will cross that bridge when we get to it. Rather, the question is: When will we choose?

This is where I believe we need to place much more emphasis at this stage in our growth and development as a Territory.

If we do not set a timeframe for a referendum, then there is no deadline to work toward. Without a deadline, there is no impetus to prepare for a referendum or to make the necessary adjustments for the potential outcome.

We cannot afford to avoid this issue any longer. The uncertainty is hindering our ability to prepare for our longer-term future.

 

 

GLOBAL BRITAIN

It is very apparent now, that if we do not make it clear that we intend to make a decision about our political status, the Virgin Islands will continue to be subject to whatever vision and plans the UK has for us.

The Foreign Affairs Select Committee in the House of Commons has already presented their own vision of Global Britain and the Overseas Territories, which in many ways disregards our uniqueness as a people and calls for measures that would undermine our economy.

CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW

We as a people must not allow ourselves to get stuck in a never-ending debate about our political future. Now is the time to cement the timing for this critical decision that must eventually be made.

The forthcoming Constitutional Review is our opportunity. By embedding the latest year for a referendum in our constitution, we escape the trap of putting off the decision for another time. A constitutionally based timeframe would bind our Government and the UK to preparing for such a referendum.

And the UK should agree, by the way. The British people were given a referendum vote on Brexit. The people of Scotland were given a vote on independence. A referendum is nothing out of the ordinary.

UN DECOLONISATION PROCESS

Let me just make one additional clarification here. A decision on our political future is not simply about whether we like the UK or not. The full decolonisation of the Virgin Islands is about completing the process that was previously sanctioned by the UN, including the UK as one of the most important members of the institution.

According to the UN, the Virgin Islands has not been fully decolonized. This is not simply my view or Dr. Corbin’s view. This is the UN’s view. This is based on the UN’s litmus test of self-government in these islands. And we are not alone.

There are 17 Overseas Territories under the remit of the UN Special Committee on Decolonisation (Committee of 24/C-24) that are in a similar position. Thus, the UN has called for the eradication of colonialism by the end of this decade.

Ladies and gentleman, the world has already agreed that colonialism in all forms must be a thing of the past. We must now determine when we will bring to an end the last vestiges of colonialism in the Virgin Islands.

Let us not forget that our forebearers initiated the decolonisation process. The Great March of 1949 was a turning point when the people of the Virgin Islands came together collectively for the first time to stand up for their dignity as human beings and to demand the right to have a say in their political and economic future.

It is important that we do not become complacent with the status quo and continue to forge ahead on the path of self-determination.

REFERENDUM DATE

Ladies and gentleman, in selecting the latest year by which to hold a referendum, we should consider a few things:

First, the UN has called for the complete eradication of colonialism by 2030. This decade is the window of time that has international legitimacy. The vast majority of countries in the world voted for the this at the UN General Assembly in 2020. The international community stands with us on choosing our political future.

Second, there are local public consultations under way on the preparation of a National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) with the support of UN ECLAC. The overarching goal of the plan is to strengthen the economic, social, political and environmental viability of our society over the course of this decade. The measure of success will be the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. If we are successful in this endeavor, we will be well positioned to continue our sustainable development, regardless of what future political status the people of the Virgin Islands choose.

The final consideration is one of a moral nature. I personally believe that we have a moral obligation to agree a timeframe for a referendum that would at least give the baby boomer generation an opportunity to participate. I am talking about the people born as early as 1945. Essentially my mother and father’s generation and those who came of age in the period after the Second World War. They have seen a lot of change in these Virgin Islands and I believe they deserve a vote on our political future.

Based on these factors, ladies and gentleman, I believe that we must call for a referendum on the political status of the Territory to be held no later than 2030.

Such a provision should be embedded in our constitution to make it extremely difficult for anyone to reverse or derail it. It is the one thing at this stage that will make a substantive difference in our political advancement.

In addition, we should of course negotiate for as much autonomy as we can get in the upcoming Constitutional Review, supported by strong provisions to police ourselves. We should be under no illusions that the extent of any real change depends on how far the UK is willing to go.

 

 

CONCLUSION

Ladies and gentleman, these are very uncertain times and achieving the constitutional and political advancements we desire, will not be easy. The process requires political maturity, social cohesion and unity of purpose. It also requires a great deal of education and awareness by the public. Let us work together in this regard as we go forward.

As I close, I would like to take this opportunity as the final speaker in this lecture series, and this round of constitutional dialogues, to commend and thank the organizers for all their hard work in organizing these events:

• Mrs. Bernadine Louis and your team at HLSCC;
• Mrs. Shaina Smith-Archer, host of the Vigilate Dialogues;
• Mrs. Angelle Cameron, Co-Host of My BVI;
• Mr. Claude Skelton-Cline, Host of Honestly Speaking; and
• Mr. Edu Enka, Host of Umoja.

Thank you. You have done a great service to the community.

I do hope another series of lectures will be organized in due course. The previous presenters also deserve much credit for their contributions to the dialogue.

I thank you for your attention.

 

 REMARKS BY BENITO WHEATLEY

 

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