Published On: Mon, Mar 13th, 2017

Trickling of transparency

elton-jones-526x500Dear Editor,

When a government carefully and consciously decides to withhold information from the people or selectively inform them of what and how much they should know democracy suffers. It is also extremely dangerous to excite and incite the people with half stories that we want them to know. A few weeks ago the Dutch dictatorship appointed a quartermaster unilaterally and outside the scope of the agreed procedures and the government in Philipsburg reacted I believe decisively and correctly.

They went further and came to Parliament to let the legislature know what was happening and have them take a position on the issue. While we have always maintained that we signed away our souls for this illusion of Country within a Country there are however acts of brilliance and courage in defense of our people.

But strangely enough our prime minister met with Minister Plasterk in Aruba on the very same matter and two weeks later total silence. Why should we believe the meeting was so great when we are not allowed to know what transpired or what was agreed? How is it that the Dutch didn’t call the press to say what they will do like in their previous press release the threat to give an instruction or impose higher supervision. There is total blackout of information from both governments and we are to accept that all is well until those across the pond start to get their way, claiming agreement is agreement.

Then there are reports on arrests at our border control services and as it should be in a law abiding democratic country we are informed of the progress and the possibility of more arrests. At the same time we are getting whispers of alleged fraud and embezzlement taking place at SZV. We are advised that people were sent home.

The question is how do we decide who and when to prosecute or not? Is it place of origin or color of skin or simply dependent on the ministry in charge? We want to know.

A new story making the rounds is about a new tax ordinance now at the SER for advice proposed by our minister of finance. This ordinance seeks to enforce compliance with the tax laws by setting a thirty percent penalty on delinquents and permitting the tax inspector to go back fifteen years in assessing compliance. Not too long ago the same minister in preaching the values of the Tuitt approach who thought five years was adequate. What changed? Simply put are now implementing ordinances to placate the Dutch close more businesses and contribute to an increase in poverty. To date the governing program is still being awaited we are still at loss for actions proposed by government to recoup the loss of cruise ship calls at our port. Very little is known about the situation at Gebe and the incessant outages and load shedding. It would be nice if someone in charge can let us know when we can expect this to end. We are much more interested in the continued and dependable service than who is on the board of directors. The people’s right to know is a basic human right not a privilege. Withholding information is as good as lying. We can’t build a nation by keeping our people ignorant of the happenings in and of government. Transparency is not served by trickling and by selective releases from the powers that be.

Elton Jones