Published On: Thu, Nov 4th, 2021

Being human

By Hilbert Haar

MP Rolando Brison took the only option left to him by stepping down as president of parliament. Quite some people may think: good riddance, and on a certain level that is understandable. The documented wheeling and dealing of Mr. Brison is public knowledge, which makes me wonder why the United People’s party took him on board to become the next Theo Heyliger. The United St. Maarten party surely must be glad that he left them, though his replacement, MP Buncamper, also had plenty of mud on his face.

Nobody has been asking the rather significant question why Brison had been doing the things he has been doing, while he provided the answer himself some time ago during a public meeting of parliament (or maybe a central committee meeting) about mental health.

In that meeting Brison announced that he suffered from BPD – Borderline Personality Disorder. Putting everything else aside, that was a courageous statement. He also said that he took online treatment for his condition.

I must now conclude that that treatment has not worked very well. Brison must know this better than anyone else. Mike Ferrier wrote in a letter to the editor that Brison needs professional help. If that would help get this relatively young politician back on track, I’m all for it. God knows that St. Maarten desperately needs someone who is (according to Ferrier) able to sell ice to Eskimos.

I am not defending Brison’s behavior because the country does not need a guy who stumbles from one scandal to the next. Stepping down as president of parliament is probably the smartest thing he has done in a long time, even though his critics interpret this as a move to save himself from the humiliation of being voted out of his position by a majority of parliament.

It is time for this MP to retreat to the shadows, to find the help he obviously needs and to come back – if that is even possible – as a better man.

Let us not think lightly about a condition like BPD. The American National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) describes BPD as “an illness marked by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior.”

Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating are among the symptoms of BPD. The NIMH also mentions the following symptom: “A pattern of intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often swinging from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation).”

Recognize something? Mentioning these symptoms is not intended to provide a detailed and sordid description of Brison’s condition. It is rather meant to give those who now view him with contempt something to think about.

Remember, a mental health condition is nothing to be ashamed off. It is what it is, but those who suffer from it need the support from their loved ones and from the community. That’s what being human is about.

Facebook link to resignation speech MP Rolando Brison