Published On: Tue, Sep 8th, 2020

GRACITA: “Parliament has not only the Power but the Obligation to Steer the Course of Government”

PHILIPSBURG — Gracita Arrindell states: “the current state of governance is critical as our island continues to grapple with business closures, under- use of Trust Fund millions, archaic government IT network, administrators who congratulate themselves on the back for doing poorly what they are handsomely paid for.  There is continued gross negligence of our infrastructure.  Law abiding citizens loose faith as they ponder how much longer they can survive under the current circumstances of high unemployment, high taxation with poor representation”.

“To make matters worse, the current administration is understandably under immense pressure from the current Dutch government to accept one- sided conditions for temporary much needed liquidity support. Conditions presented by the current Minister for Kingdom Relations Mr. Knops to establish a Caribbean Reform Entity it appear to make him seem increasingly arrogant in his approach and approach towards the governments and Parliaments of Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten. Compared to many of his ten  (10) predecessors. This is both worrisome and contra-productive to the current dialogue.”

 “Our current Government is pulled in all directions. Adversely doing so, lost focus on its priorities and its ability to share these in a timely fashion in an open and transparent manner with Parliament and citizens alike is pitiful.  An example is the recent ‘incident’ regarding the very tardy disclosure of a decision rendered by the local Council of Advice regarding the Dutch governments proposed ‘new entity’ that includes Sint Maarten.  This is truly unacceptable. Parliament has the power to investigate this latest failure of the current administration and act accordingly. Indignation by MP’S should be followed with concrete Parliamentary actions to hold government accountable for not sharing this legal document as and when due” said Arrindell.

Gracita continues and states: keeping our focus on the need to generate much needed income for our depleted government coffers requires everyone to contribute and pay their fair share. Revitalizing our economy remains an utmost priority. To date our island continues to welcome almost empty airplanes especially from the USA. Other competing islands are doing everything possible to lure more affluent tourist to their shores.  Where government fails or lacks, Parliament can and must step in and redirect necessary funds and efficient policies to make an impact.  

With no improvement Parliament can render a vote of no confidence in a single Minister or an entire cabinet. MP’S are the eyes and ears of the People it represents.  They are supposed to be elected by the People to work For the People. More and concrete goal oriented action is merited from the Peoples representatives as well.   The subject of Tourism as it relates to our quest to attract and welcome repeat- business and new tourist to Sint Maarten needs to be addressed head on and with a clear mind.

Why do we allow businesses to:

  1. plaster more and bigger liquor and other household or cosmetic adds on their walls? It must stop. It cheapens our island.
  2. Hang their laundries over their balconies, including in Philipsburg and surrounding areas? It must stop. It cheapens our island.
  3. Hang adds on fences randomly and not remove them after an event? It must stop. It cheapens our island.
  4. Why do we allow ‘for sale’ cars and car carcasses to be parked all over especially on the main roads? It must stop. It cheapens our island.
  5. Why are there no lights on the Simpson bay Bridge and sporadic lights on the causeway bridge? It’s a scourge and unsafe. It must stop. It cheapens our island
  6. Boat-wrecks still litter the Simpson-bay lagoon while reportedly funds have been earmarked or better yet spent to clear the debris after Hurricane Irma. It must stop. It cheapens our island.
  7. Number booths literally all over including on side- walks? It must stop. It cheapens our island.

Wouldn’t we want to welcome our guests with a cleaner, friendlier Sint Maarten? Isn’t it time to welcome our citizens and guests alike in a warmer manner at the airport? Its not enough to say we are the friendly island. We must actually be friendlier and we must show it and mean it. Words and promises are what got us into this situation. We must now act decisively and demand results.

Arrindell concludes: “ What you see is what you get” is a popular saying. Corruption is bad everywhere. A combination of corruption and greed is terrible for attracting both local and foreign investments. Failure to attract investment is a recipe for poverty and crime. Corruption and greed paired with our inability to get things moving in the right direction without the help of a vigilant and corrective Parliament is a recipe for economic stagnation and a danger for our democracy.“