Published On: Fri, Mar 17th, 2017

Badly understood

The United St. Maarten party stands by its arrested MP Chanel Brownbill, the board says in a press statement. That is on a certain level commendable – you don’t drop your friends when they get into trouble.

But on another level the statement confirms that not all is well with integrity in politics. In many other countries, politicians who get in trouble with the law do not wait until their guilt or innocence has been established. They step down before the sun goes down on the same day.

The main reason they would give is that they are unable to function with suspicion hanging over their heads, or that it is better for the party or the country that they leave.

That is not the culture in St. Maarten as the cases of parliamentarians like Louie Laveist, Silvio Matser and now Chanel Brownbill prove.

The presumption of innocence applies to ordinary citizens; for public figures like Members of Parliament there are higher standards. Unfortunately, this is badly understood by our politicians.