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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


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