Published On: Tue, Jul 16th, 2019

Anti-Lee sentiments run deep. Why?

StMaartenNews EditorialThat human behavior is unpredictable is a fact. With all the smart inventions predicted in Star Trek – from the Universal Translator, to the Medical Tricorder and the Communicator – all nicely wrapped up today into one device called the Smartphone – successfully predicting human behavior remains a challenge. Don’t believe me? Answer me this: has anybody ever seen anyone taking a selfie in Star Trek? Who could have predicted that human behavior.

Also, who could have ever predicted with all the commotion leading up to his successful election campaign result in 2016 and the turbulent track record of having a new government on average every 14 months since 10-10-10, that Emil Lee would turn out to be the longest serving minister in successive governing cabinets back to back. Until an unprecedented motion of no confidence brought his career as minister to a full stop. A motion from one of his own coalition members too booth. Talking about unpredictable human behavior.

As the editor and publisher of I have the privilege of receiving many off-the-record commentaries and statements. One such statement reads as follows: “… this is not the first time I’ve seen this kind of blatant, unquestioning  defense of Emil Lee (even for known wrongdoing), while the automatic response to criticism of other local politicians is assumed corruption and wrongdoing with no defense in this way. Even when the politicians come out and deny these allegations, they’re still presumed guilty, but Emil Lee is not; he actually is portrayed as being transparent when this is not the case. [T]he measuring stick is not the same. Looking forward to seeing this kind of defense reporting on (any) other local politician.

The next statement about the blog postings on about Minister Emil Lee goes towards showing how deep the Anti-Lee sentiments run in the community: “I don’t care what they write about Emil as long as it is something bad on him personally.

What brought on this flow of commentaries to Our publications written by Hilbert Haar basically seen as being in defense of Emil Lee. This series appeared after Andrew Dick upgraded his Late Night with Andrew Dick comedy show to an all new level with his candid interview with Emil Lee as caretaker minister. Dick did not set a new low-blow level of comedy we would expect from him, but raised the caliber of his show to the level of a ‘The Daily Show with Trevor Noah’ type of standard with this interview.

The irony of where Mr Lee chose to give this interview. For a person that claims Sxm ppl loves sensation and melee on social media, well he went to the heart of the city. #jokey” – Kevin Lambert on WIVoice

One of the comments on his Late Night with Andrew Dick Facebook Page from Jean-Marie Molina reads as follows: “Interesting perspective. Andrew Dick you need to get a broad panel including Dr. Petit to have a discussion. I personally find it hard to believe that there is absolutely no truth to claims being made about decisions made. The only way for the people to know something is to have all parties together and let them present their pro and contra arguments to the people.

We totally agree with her. We also have difficulty believing that an in the community of St. Maarten well-respected person like Dr. Petit would go live on a radio station and make claims that are entirely baseless. We believe there is his truth, their truth and the real truth is somewhere in between.

Wim van Sambeek begged to differ, posting that “… every first year law student would tell you that Petit’s legal claims are strongly arguable. Being a great doctor does not imply being right about the law of the land.

Here is where we differ with Van Sambeek and agree with Molina. Dr. Petit’s claims were about the unlawful use of the Old Age pension funds to make investments. Since it is all about the people’s money, we agree that a live panel discussion on the topic with all involved should be organized and get it all debated out in the open to settle the people’s minds once and for all. Because this issue will remain unsettled as long as there is only a one-way discussion on the topic.

Clearly, firing Lee as minister has certainly not settled the matter for the general public. Because from the Anti-Lee sentiments exhibited thus far, it was certainly not about any possible mismanagement of the AOV pension fund under the management of SZV. From a poll taken in our recent email newsletter wherein we asked the readers why the Anti-Lee sentiments run so deep, we see that 50% believed it was “Because of fear and jealousy”. The rest of the poll result was evenly divided between “Because of his Chinese ethnicity”, “Because he is an eloquent politician” and “Because he is not to be trusted”.

Emil Lee said it best himself in his interview with Andrew Dick: “People do not like change.” From the time Lee first ran on the DP list, it was clear that he would bring change to the oversight and management of the people’s business on St. Maarten. Was that change welcomed, we don’t think so. Was that change, initiated by a non-local of Chinese background who could eloquently speak with sincerity and credibility, appreciated? Certainly not, is our opinion.

We believe the Anti-Lee sentiments run deep because we as a people are simply not yet ready to understand how any politician could operate on that level of authenticity, capability and integrity and what we do not understand, we always tend to fear.

Will our behavior one day rise up above our fear and jealousy of that which we do not understand and appreciate here on St. Maarten? We sincerely hope so. Because the future we are facing right now if we do not change our behavior is not too bright and does not bode well for the political survival of our island as an autonomic country.


Referenced articles:
Smear campaign comes from fear and jealousy, Minister Lee says
Opinion piece “Mr. Integrity” by Hilbert Haar
Petit repeats old accusations against Minister Lee
Opinion piece: “Idiot America St. Maarten-style” by Hilbert Haar
The Emil Lee Effect
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