Published On: Mon, Apr 16th, 2018

Fifteen years of Good Morning Mr. Governor

Francis Carty - 20180416 HH

PHILIPSBURG – In August it will be fifteen years ago that broadcast veteran Francis Carty went on air for the first time with his Good morning Mr. Governor column. It triggered an angry reaction from Lt. Governor Franklin Richards.

“He felt personally attacked,” Carty remembers. “He told Glen: I am going to throw your brother off the radio if he continues like this. Glen told him: knowing my brother I would not do that, because it would make matters only worse.”

Carty, who turns 71 in June, was not to be defeated. “In my next Good morning Mr. Governor I explained that my opinions are not addressed to the person, but simply to the highest authority on the island.”

In the beginning of this century, the radio station had a Spanish-spoken show with Ricardo Rey. “He told me that in Venezuela they had a show that addressed the highest authority in the country in a critical way.”

The seed for Good morning Mr. Governor was planted but it took until August 2003 before Carty did something with the idea. “Something happened and it pissed me off. That’s when I started,” he says. “I try to wake people up, to excite their spirits.”

Asked why he is often not too specific in his column, Carty says: “I do not talk about persons or about small groups. The advice I got was to do this as if I am in front of a judge to defend myself. You have to be careful with the things you say and I attempt to do it like that. People are free to perceive it the way they want – and then you have a dispute every now and then.”

Carty has always been a critical observer of what is going on in St. Maarten. He served on the first board of the Corporate Governance Council. “We had to go, because we were a nuisance,” he says. “Now I read in the paper that Alex Dijkhoffz has been appointed chairman of the board at the airport. That appointment is illegal, because they did not follow the corporate governance procedures. You see, I am not the most favorite person of the government. I have always been outspoken.”

Good morning Mr. Governor addresses a wide array of topics. One in particular stands out in Carty’s mind. He broadcast it for the first time in September 2009 and has rebroadcast it several times: “It is still relevant today.”

The topic of that column: students who go abroad on a scholarship. “when they come back to the island they are not treated well. My daughter studies psychology in the United States. When she came back it took a year before she had her paperwork in order. She was close to the point of going back and take a job in the States.”

Carty does not have a high opinion about the way St. Maarten is governed. “The government makes it difficult for small entrepreneurs to start. They could at least treat them decently, but the bureaucracy is only getting worse. We have maybe 30,000 residents and probably 20,000 illegals here. It could be so easy but they govern St. Maarten like it is New York. There is no continuity in the top and the departments are running the country and civil servants don’t know their jobs. You have to make them responsible for their performance, otherwise nothing will ever change. That change can come by choice or by force and with Hurricane Irma it has now come by force.”

Carty is also not happy with the way the government is treating large companies like the Maho Group that has asked for a multi-million soft loan to save its operations versus small companies that also suffered damages. “We had a lot of damages to our aerials during the hurricane. Our equipment suffered from the humidity, but we have stayed on air and we have taken all costs ourselves. We have reported this to the Bureau Telecommunication and Post, saying: if there is help forthcoming, could we get some too? But what are the criteria? That remains unclear.”

Carty has plenty of material for his Good morning Mr. Governor column. “I am mostly at home or at the office, but when I occasionally go to a cocktail party I realize how many people are listening to it,” he says. “People give me plenty of ideas too.”

With 15 years of Good morning Mr. Governor practically in the books and its author way past retirement age, what does the future look like? “As long as I am able to do this, I will continue with it. I find the working environment at the radio station very pleasant.”

Photo caption: Radio veteran Francis Carty in his office at the radio station. Photo Hilbert Haar.



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