Published On: Thu, Apr 23rd, 2020

Time for a change of direction, says Michael Ferrier

Micheal J. FerrierDear Editor,

1) Parliamentarians in meeting of April 22 said things like: ….being sick and tired of us (SXM) having to run to Holland every time (there is a need) to BEG.

2) Alternatives of Go-To Private Investors who might be ready, willing and able to bail out St. Maarten were offered by name. But what was not mentioned was AT WHAT PRICE to the people? When it comes to looking for money to get us out of the mess we are in, we all know there is no such thing as “a FREE lunch”; so even if under the present 10/10/10 rules we COULD go the route of private investors, at what cost FINANCIALLY and more importantly, at what cost to our DEMOCRACY will that be? Will we be selling our Government to these investors named by the Parliamentarian on the floor of Parliament? What would those investors consider an acceptable Return On Investment?

3) The President of Parliament suggests (demands) that the CBCS “be called to order”, issue a license for a to be established National Bank of SXM, fund it by repatriating some or all of St. Maarten’s share of the CBCS’ money abroad, and cut the umbilical financial cord with Curaçao;

4) Economist Arjen Alberts on April 22, 2020 explained the “What can the CBCS do for us” in layman’s terms (he thinks possibly a band-aid for up to 6 months, after which financial disaster).

These 4 points I use to preface the following that I wrote on April 9th last, while pondering the pickle we are in:

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

What if, as the Corona virus pandemic hopefully starts getting under control, we get another Cat 5 (or more) hurricane this September? Who do we turn to? The Kingdom Government again?

My take: after almost 10 years of trying, circumstances have proven that St. Maarten on SO many levels cannot sustain itself as a “Country”.

We lack self discipline.

We lack cohesion.

We lack the ability to raise enough taxes to afford to run an efficient government organization under normal circumstances.

We have a government apparatus that is too expensive for the quality and quantity of services available to the population.

We have Government owned companies that pay better than Fortune 500 companies.

We lack enough qualified Human Resources to properly and efficiently serve our population.

We lack mutual trust between consecutive governments and the population.

With 9 governments in 10 years, our elected and appointed officials (including me) have proven that they collectively lack enough maturity, knowledge, and often integrity to properly manage the affairs of the people.

On top of all of that, Hurricane IRMA and within 2 1/2 years now this COVID19 PANDEMIC, have proven without a shadow of doubt that because of a myriad of reasons, we are financially, socially and economically unable to sustain the illusive dream of being an autonomous “country”.  By virtue of the size in numbers of our population and our total dependency on a single (now proven very fickle) pillar of economic sustenance (Tourism), we seem to be destined to be an integral part of a larger community to which we will have to contribute in “good” times so that we can blindly and unconditionally depend on it in “bad” times (read: disasters, both natural as well as man made).

As far as I am concerned it is time to admit: THIS COUNTRY STATUS EXPERIMENT HAS FAILED ON ST. MAARTEN for amongst others, all the reasons mentioned here above.

TIME FOR A CHANGE OF DIRECTION;

TIME FOR A NEW REFERENDUM!
And let me add:

TIME TO CUT THE FINANCIAL MONETARY UNION WITH CURAÇAO (I agree with the President of Parliament on this);

TIME TO DOLLARIZE

TIME TO GET EVERY RESIDENT OF SXM (Legal and Illegal) TESTED FOR THE COVID19 VIRUS (I agree with another Member of Parliament).

Michael J. Ferrier