Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.xVinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.xVinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x

We People vs Them People?

Dear Editor,

I’d like to point out the fact that we had an amazing array of activities and events for our 60th St. Martin Day Celebration. People were having a good time; cultural wear displays organized orchestras and the traditional Johnny cakes and chicken leg. But we need to embrace all facets of our culture including our Dutch aspects.

When we think about a lot of Dutch people coming here for jobs and opportunities we must keep in mind there are a lot of our people including our students who go abroad to the Netherlands to seek job opportunities and tertiary education. As much as we expect integration there in the Netherlands, they expect integration here in St. Maarten. Therefore, we should foster such a relationship with the Netherlands. With this, I encourage our political leaders to foster an amicable and working relationship with the Dutch in the best interest of our people.

Remember that the rest of the world is joining up as seen in the European Union. It would be pointless if a small island like St. Maarten goes on its own without a sustainable plan. What a great multi-lateral relationship with all kingdom countries looks like? Open communication, exchange of resources, common goals, and most importantly trust.

Even though there are some challenges dealing with our kingdom partner, there are also benefits, such as low-cost loans with low maturity as well as access to the European development funds. Should St. Maarten not have this accessibility we would then have to be mindful that St. Maarten would have to compete on the international market for loans in which we would have to prove our creditworthy. And given our credit standards, this may prove to be difficult. Hence, given our creditworthiness and political instability our credit loan would be questioned.

But I see the light at the end of the tunnel. If we as a people can see ourselves as one, including our French neighbors, and our Dutch counterparts, then we can grow this nation and strive in the best interest of the people. I believe we can do it!

Adonis Cyntje


USM 30th Anniversary.

Mr. Editor,
I would like to congratulate the University of St. Martin (USM) on their upcoming 30th Anniversary Celebration on November 16, 2019. Our local University came a long way in its thirtieth years of existence. USM has graduated more than 750 Alumni who hold key positions in the public and private sectors of St. Maarten. USM has produced some of St. Maarten's top Directors, Managers, and Leaders within our community. I am proud to have been associated with USM and a faculty member for more than 25-years.
USMs major strength is its students who can go anywhere in the world from here and excel at top Universities, Ivy Leagues around the globe. I find it amazing for a non- accredited University, that our students can go anywhere from here with their credits and are excelling at other top Universities as the best in their class. That's a FACT!
Mr. Editor, all USM wanted in its thirtieth years of existence is for our local Government to recognize their own national Institution of higher learning on the island. I can't understand why any island/ country would not recognize their own Institution of higher learning and put a structural solution in place for funding instead of injecting bits of funding which can't finance the curriculum and educators to run a full accredited University. What happened to the long-overdue draft tertiary ordinance to recognize our University? The first question any outside business would ask USM while marketing abroad is "Are you recognized by your local Government," in which they can't answer.
Education should be legislators and Government’s top priority. The educational system of a nation is the foundation to building any nation.
We need to reignite the vision of the Founders of why USM was established, such as the late Dr. Claude Wathey and Ambassador Dr. Husang Ansary. We need to get back to the vision instead of being all over the place with the future development of USM. I also would like to know why our Co-Founder Ambassador Dr. Husang Ansary is donating millions to other Universities in the United States instead of helping to further develop our own local University that he helped co-found?
USM should be the future cornerstone to educate our people to become leaders of the 21st century within our community. Education must be a top priority.
In closing, I pray to GOD that the sooner the better, we get it right with the right vision and put a structural solution and funding in place to recognize our own local Institution, USM.


Maurice Lake

 

Sint Maarten is Still Broke!

Dear Editor,

During last week’s press briefing, the Minister of Finance informed one of the reporters about Sint Maarten’s current liquidity status. Sint Maarten currently holds between 25 to 30 million guilders in its coffers.

Our annual budget is about 450 million guilders, and we have difficulties balancing our budget. Furthermore, we know that the government has been relying on Adhoc payments such as the sale of its shares in UTS to cover expenses. As a result, we have no budget for capital expenses.

Many have been asking why our neighboring countries have been receiving financial aid from the Dutch and other international organizations without conditions. That is because they are in more deplorable conditions according to international standards when compared to Sint Maarten. But don’t worry, Sint Maarten is heading there to deplorable conditions at this rate. We’ve been having a declining economy since 2014 as all the cabinet changes have been costly for Sint Maarten.

We cannot blame the Dutch or CFT for a deal we accepted since 10-10-10. When we’re told, we shouldn’t accept the world bank’s bureaucratic procedures or conditions from the Dutch, we should question what was the alternative as we’ve been spending so poorly for the last 7 years before Hurricane Irma.

We became a country that could not take care of its own people in times of disasters. The truth is, we lack long term macro-economic planning by the Sint Maarten Government and that is partially due to political instability.

The good news is, however, that there is a viable solution and it starts with putting people like me and your readers at the forefront of any policymaking process. This will ensure that hard-working families are able to afford what they need, that we give our entrepreneurs a head start, that we strengthen and diversify our economy and we alleviate poverty in our society.

People say things haven’t changed over the last 10 years, but it has. Only, the changes have not been for us!

Adonis Cyntje

Is this just another political stunt?

A few days ago we saw an article from MP Brison stating that he wants police officers to be paid out by December. As police officers, we would love if this would actually happen but we feel like it is just another political stunt before elections. Last week Wednesday, the Minister of finance said in the press briefing that proceeds from the UTS sale would go towards the backpay in the justice chain but they only received half of the amount that they were supposed to receive from the UTS sale so far and they would receive the rest within 2 to 3 months.

Minister Geerlings also explained that the legal counsel of the buyers had some issues with some of the wording in the contract. So now the contract has to be adjusted and sent to the governor, then to the council of advice, then back to the Minister of Finance to be finalized. But wait, after that, it still has to go to the floor after Parliament for handling! After the handling in Parliament, then it would go back to the buyer's legal counsel for approval and then the other half of the money from the UTS sale would be sent.

Most of us have children to feed and ends that can’t be met. We have been fighting this battle for years and it is honestly draining. We risk our lives on a daily basis to protect others and we are not being paid nearly as much as we should. Many times we received empty promises.

Our point is, we have had enough of the politics that is being played with this issue. we would like nothing more than to receive the backpay by December, but based on the timeline that Minister Geerlings gave last week, this does not seem possible. we expect that MP Brison is aware of this, so putting out that article just seems like an attempt to gain political mileage and that has to stop because this is not a game.

Start Putting Our People First.

mauricelake03042019Dear Editor,
It’s sad to see the sense of direction St. Maarten is heading into right now. We need to “Get Back to Basics” and get back on track. We need to refocus, recalculate and move forward from two years of just processing, procedures, and go back to the vision of starting to put our people first by creating hope and connecting back to the people who we represent.
Mr. Editor, the master plans are there written over the years and sitting in desk drawers. We need to move forward and dust off and update our already established master plan on affordable social housing (including senior homes), social care, health care (senior care), education, economic and labor reform and amend the electoral ordinance where the seat stays with the political party.
This is the TIME for us to think “outside the box” and show maturity of working together in the general interest of our people. We have a lot of people having a hard time making ends meet to provide for their family and we have to start showing political maturity and leadership through the intelligence of putting our people first. Always remember Intelligence plus character is the goal of a true education. We also need to upgrade customer service within our public sector institutions. St. Maarten was known for our service and friendliness in which we are slowly losing because of not caring for people.

Our beautiful island would never move forward without Vision. As Nelson Mandela once said, “Vision without action is just a dream, action without vision just passes the time, and vision with action can change the world.” The only way St. Maarten will move forward is for us to change our mentality of everyone for themselves and fighting each other for power with no sense of direction. We need to start moving forward by putting the right professionals with Intelligence and new ideas in the right positions instead of putting the same desk generals with no realistic plan of action of making things happen for our people.
Its high time we work along with our local Private Sector, High Councils of State, NGOs, Unions, local consultants, Anti-Poverty Platform, Community Councils and listen to the people’s issues, grievances, and concerns with a realistic SMART plan of action that can make our island a better place. We must stop the internal fighting and slander on social media which is just bringing our people down. We must start believing in our local professionals instead of putting others over our own local experts or businesses who present the same idea or plan but with a different cover page and we accept and pay them crazy consultancy fees such as the World Bank.
Mr. Editor, I think a lot of our representatives are afraid of the Dutch and that’s why not much decisions are being made to move our island forward. You cannot govern an island in fear and not doing your research and homework. We need leaders who know how to communicate through intelligence with the Dutch. I was amazed by Minister Knops article in the Daily Herald of September 30, 2019 in which he gives an update of the various reconstruction projects, including repairs to almost 1,000 homes and pending repairs to 500 more and re-training/financial support for more than 1,300 people and no one within our Government questioned him of where he got those figures from.
If you read the Ombudsman report “Home Repair A Revelation of a Social Crisis” and their small film which is based on FACTS, it is nowhere close to the 1,000 home repairs Minister Knops mentioned in his presentation to the Second Chamber.
Mr. Editor, what really caught my attention in the Ombudsman Report is the slow pace of the projected numbers vs the actual numbers of roof repairs done in the report. Based on these FACTS, Government should re-evaluate the entire process and criteria to move forward 2 years after Irma. We should have been finished with the first tranche of recovery and home repairs and already starting our master plan of building affordable housing which should be a high priority at this time.
Mr. Editor, I have to commend the Ombudsman and her Team for presenting the FACTS to the people. These types of factual reports and evaluations of the slow process, I expect to get from our Government and Recovery Bureau who are representing our people and overseeing these recovery projects.
As Representatives, we need to get away from the sugar coating, job security, picture opt, secrecy, self-interest, fear, and group cliques and start being transparent and open by presenting the facts and truth to our people.
In closing, I pray that our Representatives of the people raise the bar, show political maturity, stop the fighting and lead our people through intelligence with a plan of action of putting people first and making things happened for our island. Let’s get Back to Basics and move forward through Intelligence and prayer of truly speaking the truth of getting our beautiful island back on track.


Maurice Lake

More Articles ...


Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x
Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.x