Published On: Fri, Aug 25th, 2023

Trustworthy politicians

By Hilbert Haar

“I am an honest politician,” the man said to the beautiful looking blonde who sat next to him at a bar.

“Yeah, right, the blonde quipped. “I am a prostitute, and I am a virgin.”

This is the problem in a nutshell: you really cannot trust anybody anymore these days.

Knowledge Center Curacao, a department of the University of the Dutch Caribbean tested this theory by polling people in Curacao about their trust in local politicians. The result?

After interviewing more than 700 people researchers concluded that Javier Silvania is the island’s most popular politician, though the numbers suggest that there are also a lot of people who don’t trust him at all.

The survey shows that 41 percent of those interviewed trust Silvania, the minister of finance in the second Pisas-cabinet. Does it make a difference that Silvania is also a jurist, an economist and a fiscalist? Who knows? What the researchers only saying a roundabout way, is that 59 percent, therefore: a majority, does not trust Silvania, or at least – not enough. Here are the numbers: 26 percent does not trust him enough. 19 percent is neutral and 15 percent does not have an opinion about his trustworthiness.

This is all you need to be labeled as the most popular politician of Curacao. One could of course do worse than Silvania, who recently boosted his popularity by throwing out all tax assessments from before 2018. Take Prime Minister Gilmar Pisas for instance as an example. Only 23 percent of those interviewed trust him, meaning that three out of four do not trust him.

Surveys like this confirm what most people think about politicians. It would be interesting to see the Knowledge Center do a similar survey in St. Maarten. It is unlikely that this will ever happen though I am pretty sure that the outcome would show that our electorate loves its villains.

Fortunately, our politicians will be subjected to a real test in the upcoming elections. Will they express their trust in a character like Chanel Brownbill who has a conviction for tax fraud to his name? Will they once more give their vote to Akeem Arrindell who seems to have a knack for doing and saying nothing in Parliament? Do they really want Rolando Brison, who once publicly admitted that he suffers from borderline personality disorder, to return to parliament? The MP who made an enemy of MP Grisha Heyliger-Marten, the spouse of UP-founder Theo Heyliger, by hijacking the UP party?

Or will voters finally see the light and empower a new generation of politicians to lead St. Maarten to the promised land?

The outcome of this election will make a few things clear. Namely, which politicians can be trusted (according to voters) and which voters have lost their minds (according to the election results).