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Response to Karma.

After the publication of my article on SMN News. I Dr. Michel Petit must respond to you Karma.
Your comments here needed an answer I think that it is the first that I am answering some anonymous person not sure most likely it is but nevertheless your comments needed an answer.
First of all in life one has to be accountable for their opinion. I have never written anything under a disguised name, be bold and strong and express your opinion in the open forum under your real name, that’s democracy and freedom of speech.
But for you to hide behind the name Karma to spew your venom, that’s fine. In any case what you wrote needs an answer from me Dr. Michel Petit.
Either you don’t know me or you are pretending so you could under the cover of anonymity make-believe and make negative comments about me.
I have a feeling that I know who you are because it’s not possible for you to get involved in this issue, for sure you are not a St Maartener. To get at the core of your comments here are my response
Thank God there are wise people my age to take care of scum bags like you.
An intelligent person if they want to be productive in life and give advice and criticize that is not only fine it is needed. Life needs checks and balances. Nobody has the whole truth, but you need to have a minimum of balance and intelligence to make reasonable comments. In your comments towards my person either you don’t know me or you are hiding so you could make your comments that cannot be linked to previous positions, I took in the community in favor of what I thought was wrong.
Nevertheless, I dare you to say that at the age of 70 years old my medical knowledge is not up to date
My dear Karma without boasting of myself there are a lot of doctors who would like to have my knowledge and skills and experience, just ask around if you’re friends with SXM people and this could be attested by many of my coworkers. Concerning my license to practice I have a ministerial decree with no end date. And last but not least I am willing to give you free of charge 10% of my brain cells which will not affect me as I have so much more than you, this will allow you to be a better person to better understand SXM people and be up to date on important events on this Island.
I do not need a waiver to go on the southern side of the island anymore, it is just that the French side needs it to re-enter.
Advice from a 70-year-old fart, Change your vision on St Martin / St Maarten people because if you live here and want to enjoy the friendly Island this will make your life easier.
This is free advice from A 70-year-old not up to date that doesn’t care a damn about your opinion. So put this in your pipe and smoke it.

 

Dr. Michel Petit.


The Departure of Patches.

Team Unity’s Minister of Infrastructure (among other things) thinks he’s going to get another five years to wreak havoc on poor people, the treasury and good governance; and in no particular order to boot.
It’s curious that the Number One constituency seems to always breed an Infrastructure Minister; previously it was the arrogant and soulless Earl Asim Martin, and if the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party has its way, the torch will next be held by the NextGen newcomer, Dr. Geoffrey Hanley. This should surely spell a permanent departure of Patches from the political landscape.
Patches may have been around since Moses was a boy, it seems, but after 18 years of wheeling and dealing his way through the private sector, he decided to go after the public purse instead. His departure from private industry meant that even though he had already made himself a wealthy man, he too was intent on departure from a life of spiritual and moral values, under which his childhood was formed.
Patches saw the departure of Labour, and of his nemesis Martin, and then a departure of law and order in his own consistency, many parts of which are breeding grounds for killers, drug dealers, bandits, and rapists. Sadly, it’s been almost 21 months since his son, Mickail “Mitch” Liburd, departed this life in a hail of gunfire, in the Pine Gardens area.
Family sources have whispered that it was the third or fourth time that Patches and/or his son were in the way of bullets. The incident, they say, was not an accident, or a misunderstanding. But this time it went too far. Prime Minister Timothy Harris, in offering solace, gave a cryptic quote: “As a trusted colleague and confidant, Patches and I are bound by a special friendship that goes back many years. Our bond is built on our shared patriotism and love of politics, as well as mutual admiration, respect, and understanding.”
Harris went on to say that his Cabinet “will use every resource at our country’s disposal to ensure that the peace, stability, and prosperity that our people deserve are always available”.
What was even more puzzling was that the murder of the well-known young man pushed our tiny nation’s homicide figures into being the fifth deadliest place on earth, per capita. So, in an immediate response, the Prime Minister decided to simply pay killers to not kill. They could keep their arsenal of weapons, but no more spilling of blood. Prime Minister Harris has made a mockery of the Nation’s security – short-term solution for political gain.
Is that the best approach he and his and his National Security Adviser can come up with? This is what happens when you have an accountant and an ex-military firecracker making national security decisions. The result of this disastrous policy is glaring: while murders dropped, rape, robbery, assault and petty crimes went up. No one seemed concerned. They only cared that the government looked good. Together, Patches and Harris engineered the departure of violent crime from the front pages.
After having so much experience with departures, it’s possible that Patches felt emboldened enough to add another “departure” to his bucket list… the Departure Gates at the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport (RLBIA). And so, not one or two, but SIX times, Patches breached airport security at the Departure gates, frequently flying past bewildered Customs and Immigration officials.
He has refused to be searched and was always carrying a package in his hand, which he never returned with. Sometimes he used the mundane and petulant excuse that he had to return some cheap item to a passenger, but other times, he simply barrelled his way through, like a raging bull, in the quintessential display of “I is de Minister of de airport, and I do sign de paycheck and I own here!” Flabbergasted, officials turned a blind eye, mostly in fear for their jobs. Were it another passenger, he would be a guest of Her Majesty’s Prison, listening daily for the chimes of the nearby church clock. But it was Patches, the high and mighty one.
Even his excuse was patchy. After trying to deny the incident ever happened, his lies were eventually revealed by his own Cabinet colleague, Mark Brantley. In October 2019, Brantley revealed that an investigation into several similar breaches by the Minister – in particular, one in April 2019 - had gone to Prime Minister Harris. I’m told the report is now in Harris’ bottom desk drawer, and Patches was never reprimanded for his illegal actions, disrespectful behavior and poor conduct.
How did Patches celebrate getting one up on the Big Man from Nevis? Well, on October 15, 2019 - just a week after Brantley spoke - Patches pushed his way through airport security yet again, entering a restricted area. This time, there was no lying for Liburd, and he was caught on camera.
It is reported that the April security breach led to the downgrading of the Robert L Bradshaw Airport by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO). The October fiasco resulted in the RLBIA being downgraded by the FAA to a Category Two. Category Two puts our international airport almost on the same level as the taxi stand in Basseterre – minimum security, and you could only ply existing routes, nothing new.
The World Trade Center attack is approaching its 20th anniversary. It was an event that changed the dynamics of air travel permanently. Then Richard “Shoebomber” Reid ensures that we sampled each airport’s cold floors with bare feet and sagging pants, as shoes and belts now had to be screened.
Airports are arguably the first and last defense for a country’s border security. Any mischief or subversive actions in a country are usually tied to its border control. Terrorists want in, drugs want in, arms and ammunition want in; and it is the humble souls in uniform that thwart the unthinkable, sometimes before it is thought up.
But Patches obviously has other thoughts and he has singlehandedly embarrassed and compromised not only the Federation but also the entire bloc of the Eastern Caribbean States. Think about the possible implications of his thoughtless, selfish, and arrogant behaviour. But more importantly, think of the cavalier manner that his Prime Minister has adopted in dealing with this matter.
Harris’ flim-flam attitude reflects an abdication of prime ministerial responsibility and in doing so, he has placed our country in a bad light. The buck stops with Harris. Thus he is ultimately responsible for the action taken against SKN. It means that no new airline would be allowed to fly into SKN, resulting in a loss of revenue for the country. It also means that our airports would be under constant surveillance by the TSA. Air travel would also become more of a hassle and a burden. Does Harris even care about this? Apparently not. Patches are his friend and can do no wrong just as Harris can do no wrong with his far-reaching nepotism and wheeling and dealing.
Harris loves to invoke “democracy” whenever he wants to impress the international community. But saying it and practicing it are two different things. He is no democrat; he is the new breed of authoritarian dictators like Bolsonaro in Brazil, Trump in the US, and Duterte in the Philippines. Is this what we voted for in 2015? And do we want more of the same? The people of SKN are smarter than that. Of that, I am sure.
What we need is a departure of these ills from our country’s leadership. Patches and his buddy Harris should get on with their political departure; we cannot wait to see their backs at the gate.

 

Joel B. Liburd
Communications Consultant
Basseterre/Quebec

St. Maarten Accepts Dutch Proposal Providing it does not trample on Laws |.

Dear Editor,

I commend the Government of St. Maarten for making a very hard decision in order to ensure that we have the collective means in order to survive the economic crisis that this health crisis has forced on everybody.
Reducing people's income of individuals that are already struggling is a very unpopular decision. Unfortunately, the reality is that under this world Pandemic nobody has been waived of experiencing some form of sacrifice.
True leaders must lead by example and make the hard choices when called upon.
Regardless of how tough the conditions are we still must be thankful to the Netherlands and their taxpayers for their assistance.
Now more than ever we need to be even more vigilant to see which neighbor may require our assistance in order to ensure we alleviate and minimize their struggle. As the saying goes "it takes a village"

 Ricardo Perez.

Racism at the Dutch Tax Authorities.

 Earlier this week, it was confirmed that the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (de Belastingdienst) have been guilty of ethnic profiling for years. These racist practices, targeting Dutch citizens on the basis of their nationality, have caused irreparable damage to thousands of families. BIJ1 demands those responsible for drafting and implementing the policy, be held accountable, and for radical action to be taken against institutional racism within the government as a whole.

 The Netherlands, while presenting itself as a guardian of international law, is the country where tax authorities selected more than 11,000 people for additional fraud checks on the basis of their (second) nationality. A practice that was in effect for a number of years. Having a second nationality was an official motive to flag an individual as having an ‘increased risk of fraud’.

Due to this policy, thousands of people with a second nationality and/or migration background were subjected to extra screenings and groundlessly highlighted as fraudsters. People were ordered to refund their allowance for childcare, in some cases resulting in high debts and severe financial difficulties. One of the affected parents was even driven to suicide.

 “Many families have fallen into the abyss due to the deliberate ethnic profiling by the Dutch Tax Authorities. We must hold the perpetrators of this evil accountable and take action to fully eradicate institutional racism.”

Sylvana Simons, party leader of BIJ1

 Government in denial

Employees started blowing the whistle on these practices as early as 2014. Asscher and Wiebes, respectively the responsible minister and state secretary at the time, must have been aware but ignored these sounds of alarm. Subsequently, the Council of State (Raad van State), the highest court of law that can rule on a dispute between citizens and the government, also contributed to the preservation of the racist policies. The lawsuits against the tax authorities by hundreds of victims were dismissed under the vice-chairmanship of Piet Hein Donner (former CDA Minister of Justice). Thus allowing these racist policies to continue for years, with devastating consequences for the families.

This misconduct shows that as a citizen, one is powerless against powerful government institutions such as the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. And the maladministration continues. Solutions for the people affected are still nowhere in sight: parents who requested their files months ago, still haven’t been able to review them. Nor has there been any progress regarding financial compensation. Ultimately, the only road toward real recovery is structural change for the tax authorities.

 Time for action!

An immense evil and enormous injustice have been done to thousands of people. It proves that government officials can be expected to actively discriminate. Serious and adequate action is needed, immediately.

 1. Compensate all families affected by these crimes of institutional racism. We mean serious compensations: after all, there is no amount of money that can sufficiently compensate the suffering of these people. The government must take responsibility and compensate as best as possible for the problems it has caused.
2. Conduct a parliamentary inquiry into institutional racism at the Tax Authorities and the parts ministers and civil servants play in it.
3. Hold the policymakers responsible. They must be tried for the drafting and implementation of discriminatory policies. They are to blame for the consequences this has had for thousands of families, the gagging and abuse of power, and the death of a person.
4. Fire employees who have knowingly contributed to this. Only then can we start working on the eradication of racism at the Tax Authorities.
5. Protect whistleblowers unconditionally, to ensure wrongdoings like this can be detected and addressed sooner.
6. Conduct wider research into institutional racism. Not only at the Tax Authorities, but also at other government agencies that have shown indications of structural racism and forms of discrimination, such as the UWV, CBR, and SVB.
7. Compel municipalities to investigate their own institutions and facilities for discrimination and institutional racism. In doing so, the government must not only provide funding but also facilitate concrete support to ensure that the investigations are run as transparent and unadulterated as possible.
8. Take all necessary steps to eradicate racism from institutions through the leadership and expertise of people of colour.
9. Establish a Constitutional Court that assesses policies, laws, and treaties against the Constitution. Remove Article 120 of the Constitution which makes this kind of discriminatory practice impossible.
10. End the use of ethnic registration and registration of nationality by the Tax Authorities immediately. Prohibit the use of such data for other government services if it cannot be guaranteed that it won't be damaging.

 Read more on our website: www.bij1.org/en/articles/racisme-belastingdienst

 1. Compensate all families affected by these crimes of institutional racism. We mean serious compensations: after all, there is no amount of money that can sufficiently compensate the suffering of these people. The government must take responsibility and compensate as best as possible for the problems it has caused.
2. Conduct a parliamentary inquiry into institutional racism at the Tax Authorities and the parts ministers and civil servants play in it.
3. Hold the policymakers responsible. They must be tried for the drafting and implementation of discriminatory policies. They are to blame for the consequences this has had for thousands of families, the gagging and abuse of power, and the death of a person.
4. Fire employees who have knowingly contributed to this. Only then can we start working on the eradication of racism at the Tax Authorities.
5. Protect whistleblowers unconditionally, to ensure wrongdoings like this can be detected and addressed sooner.
6. Conduct wider research into institutional racism. Not only at the Tax Authorities, but also at other government agencies that have shown indications of structural racism and forms of discrimination, such as the UWV, CBR, and SVB.
7. Compel municipalities to investigate their own institutions and facilities for discrimination and institutional racism. In doing so, the government must not only provide funding but also facilitate concrete support to ensure that the investigations are run as transparent and unadulterated as possible.
8. Take all necessary steps to eradicate racism from institutions through the leadership and expertise of people of colour.
9. Establish a Constitutional Court that assesses policies, laws, and treaties against the Constitution. Remove Article 120 of the Constitution which makes this kind of discriminatory practice impossible.
10. End the use of ethnic registration and registration of nationality by the Tax Authorities immediately. Prohibit the use of such data for other government services if it cannot be guaranteed that it won't be damaging.

 

Read more on our website: www.bij1.org/en/articles/racisme-belastingdienst

 

 

 Sylvana Simons

 

 

 

 

The Consistency of the Inconsistency’

Dear Editor,

I believe that we all can agree that there was no road map or magic instruction manual for any government on how to deal with a Pandemic without a vaccine, treatment, or cure.

Therefore, many governments worldwide have generated their own action plans; and, unfortunately, many of them contain the following patterns:
- Improvisation
- Lack of stakeholder consultation
- Inconsistent actions
- Lack of common sense
- Actions and reactions
- Selective decision-making
- Lack of systematic testing.
- Unreliable and/or incomplete data
- Decisions based on unreliable and/or incomplete data
- Dismissal of proven best practices
- Overreaching decisions that infringe on the rights of businesses and individuals in the name of public safety

Over the past several weeks, I have been drafting operational guidelines and practices that respond to the final point, above. As a result, I have had the opportunity to research and evaluate the reopening plans of various jurisdictions, including US counties and states, Canadian provinces, New Zealand, Aruba, Curacao, Netherlands, and Puerto Rico, among others.

Unfortunately, I am noticing some very disturbing and scary trends in these plans:
- There is an evolution from pre-pandemic, democratic rule of law toward a dictatorial and, at times, communist tone and action.
- Governments seem to have adopted the power to determine which business or industry survives the closures vs. which ones perish. Who gave them this power?
- The plans appear to embody a perfect excuse to restrain free enterprise and also to limit previously earned and acquired rights. For example, why can a business now open Monday to Friday but it must close on the weekends (when previously it was permitted to be open)? Why can one business be open freely and another one is only permitted to be open by appointment? Why are some allowed to do only curbside service, while others are able to be open for full service when the distinction is simply because they sell different products (e.g. supermarkets vs. hardware stores)?
- Instead of making recommendations to businesses, the tone in some points instead is a strict order with no rhyme nor reason nor a medical basis.

We must remain vigilant in order to ensure that the democratic basis of our government is not eroded on the grounds that actions are being taken in the name of public safety. The Pandemic did not grant a license to our leaders to play God, judge, and jury all at the same time.

Ricardo Perez

 


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