With a government in office for just over 60 days, a feeling of discontentment with government is discernible. While part of this can be attributed to a feeling of ever-present political apathy, the fact cannot be denied that a government formed without even an indirect approval by the electorate; an uneasy composition of coalition “partners” with very diverse manifestos and philosophies, and the absence of a governing accord contribute in no small measure to the feeling of dissatisfaction or inquietude one can sense daily in the community.
The Democratic Party is also of the belief that the talk of transparency, but in reality the often times disregard for such, only exacerbates the situation outlined above.
Partial information is even more damaging, as then all sorts of stories are conjured up.
There are many small steps that government can take as measures to promote transparency as part of the bigger objective of promoting integrity. And again, this situation is not unique to St. Maarten and we do not have to reinvent the wheel.
Integrity and Transparency are 2 items that the Democratic Party campaigned heavily on. The Open Government Partnership (OGP) was endorsed by all candidates on the 2014 Democratic Party slate and formalized in the Party’s manifesto.
In addition, many of these criteria have been outlined in the most recent integrity reports in some form or fashion. The Party hereby calls on government to take concrete steps in this regard.
One place to start is the permit system of government departments. The criteria and policies, based on relevant laws, must be public knowledge; the holders of permits must be public knowledge. There is nothing that withholds government from providing and updated lists of taxi, bus and tourbus licenses, car rentals and also other permits. Technology provides an easy means to do so. Factual information also challenges existing perceptions.
It is a general sentiment that many license holders do not meet the criteria established by law, while others are denied who claim to fit the criteria. How will government curb and or address this situation?
Again we re-iterate, more openness is a sure way to encourage a knowledgeable community and again we call on government to also take those steps that do not require much, but contribute in a huge way to a feeling of fairness.