One year after our New Constitutional Status

We are exactly one year after our new constitutional status that we received on October 10, 2010. When I listen, observe and analyze what has this status done so far for us as a people I ask myself the question if we have move forward and made any progress as the politicians that negotiated this status promised us. We heard our leaders made comments or remarks like after we pull away from the Netherlands Antilles, especially from Curacao we will have sufficient funds to govern St. Maarten.


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To the contrary we saw that one of our generating incomes which are the T.O.T. was increased shortly after our status change from 3 to 5 %.

Is this not a cause for concern in which we should ask ourselves if our leaders made a wrong calculation with their analysis. We all make mistakes at times. However I believe that when we make mistakes we should be big enough to apologize to the persons that will suffer from these mistakes which in this case is the people of St. Maarten. The population continues to complain and to appeal to our Government for some kind of relief and for solutions in areas such as the following.

The rise of crime, unemployment, high cost of living e.g., high electricity bills, high gasoline prices, high food prices, high medical expenses, the high cooking gas prices, high school fees, deteriorating roads which causes damaged vehicles, unaffordable and decent rental of apartments. These amongst other areas are some of the problems that St. Maarten is faced with on a daily basis. I know that for the people of St. Maarten the Federal Government has come to them instead of being in Curacao as was the case in the Netherlands Antilles constellation. However this status is not new for most leaders of this Government because we have persons like the Honorable Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and a number of the parliamentarians who where in the Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles which is now the Parliament of St. Maarten. And even better yet which now have 15 members of Parliament all from St. Maarten oppose to the three we had when we were in the parliament of the Netherlands Antilles. My question to all of the above is what is so new about this status. The Council of Ministers and the Parliament has their role to play in ensuring that the people receive proper representation that must be in their best interest.

One year after do we the people of St. Maarten continue to allow Government make excuses by saying that the constellation is new and that they need time before they would be able to function properly. I believe that we should demand that whoever is in Government whether representing the Government or not should play their role by knowing that St. Maarten people should be taken care of and not constantly putting their head in the sand like an ostrich by continually informing the St. Maarten People that their demands are difficult to be met but have no problem bending over backward to ensure that others are well taken care of by finding ways to solve their problems because of Human Rights. Are the St. Maarten people not humans as well.

I would like St. Maarten to live on and function to its full potential but we can only do this if our own people are given the opportunity to build this nation and to be the foundation in this process. One year has come and soon will be gone. What is your vision for St. Maarten and its people. Our entities are faced with problems that have our people insecure about their future. I spoke about the many problems that St. Maarten are faced with but I want to make a suggestion to our Government and our parliament which I believe will be in the best interest at least for our people. That is to make a decision to be real leaders so that others will follow by rolling back the salaries of all Ministers and Parliamentarians. Our elected and appointed officials should start the process by being an example seeing that we are faced with an economic recession and it would be in the best interest that they cut their salaries to a reasonable amount so that Government would have more money in their coffers. I challenge this Government to take this first step which I believe others will be willing to take if it starts with our elected officials. The people have to always be the first to make sacrifices. I believe that we should now reverse this and have our politicians set the stage by being an example. This would be a way of telling the people that we miscalculated our income after 10-10-10 and for this we will also share in paying the price for our mistakes which is a normal procedure.

Jeffrey Richardson