Published On: Wed, Jan 19th, 2022

Professionals needed to carry out a strong government administration

PHILIPSBURG — Former Lt. Governor Franklyn Richards observed during a Facebook-broadcast of the Aging with Grace-program hosted by Linda Richardson that the government “really needs to strengthen itself in various areas.”

Richards gave a personal overview of the current state of affairs, after first noting that having the longest sitting government brings about stability. However: “We have a lack of professionals to carry out a strong government administration.”

He added that the government needs to look at a variety of subjects, like tax reform, economic reform, reform at the justice chain and, first and foremost, reform of the education system.

“We need education that caters to our needs, and that is not happening. We complain that we do not have enough own judges, not enough lawyers. But do we cater to those needs? There is no overall plan. We should start working on the future rather than looking back all the time.”

The remarks came after host Linda Richardson asked an opinion from Richards and two other guests on the program – former Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs and StMaartenNews.com publisher Terrance Rey – about the conditions linked to liquidity support

“We don’t finish our homework,” Richards said. When you go for a loan the bank sets conditions and you don’t argue with the bank. This liquidity support is money from taxpayers in the Netherlands and they should have some input. It is up to us to meet the demand.”

He referred to reports from financial supervisor Cft, the Law Enforcement Council and the Progress Committee. “If you look at those reports you see that we are lagging behind. You need professionals to run a government administration. Politicians like to have their own people in office to do it, but it does not work like that.”

Richards explained that he came back to St. Maarten as a technical assistant. Coming from St. Maarten to help St. Maarten, he stated, as then Commissioner René Richardson had told KabNA at the time: If we can get one of our own as a technical assistant, then we don’t need the Dutch to help us.

Richards pointed out that there are a lot of St. Maarten professionals in the Netherlands. “We cannot continue to say, look, that is my political friend and I am going to put him in that position, no matter the cost. If you do that, you embarrass yourself and you embarrass St Maarten.”

Richards also observed a worrisome trend. “Young people are leaving government because they cannot practice there what they studied. If they do that they are pushed aside and exorcised. So they prefer working in the private sector. That way, we lose the good ones.”

That was not the only issue that worried the former Lt. Governor. “Over the years we have lost trust in our politicians. That has to do with good governance. We create our own norms, then we start to believe in them and then we say that they moved the goal posts. The judge was not correct. The verdict is wrong.”

Marcel Gumbs agreed. “We have lost our moral compass. We have lost our integrity compass. Actually, there is no compass at all. People think that you are innocent if you go on appeal after a conviction in the Court in First Instance. But you are condemned. Go sit in jail or pay your fine. We are going down a road that is a perfect recipe for disaster.”

One last word of advice Richards had: “Let’s place emphasis going forward on: Cooperation, Cooperation, Cooperation.”

Read also: Marcel Gumbs: “Friendships have broken up over vaccination-discussion”

And: “We want to drink champagne on a mauby budget”

Editorial: Cooperation, cooperation, cooperation


Related links:
Franklyn Richards joins Progress Committee
Click here to watch this Aging with Grace episode