Published On: Thu, Sep 14th, 2023

Wishful thinking

By Hilbert Haar

The prime minister listening to his own fairy tale. That is how comedian Wim Kan once described the traditional speech by the Dutch Queen (at the time) during the opening of the Dutch parliamentary year. Why does the speech Governor Ajamu Baly made during the opening of St. Maarten’s parliamentary year triggers this association?

I think this is because the speech contains a lot of wishful thinking. That is not the governor’s doing, because he is only presenting what the government has told him it intends to do during the parliamentary year. But yeah, we all know that our governments (not only this one) are extremely skilled at making plans. Executing them? Don’t ask.

I am not criticizing the projects the government has presented through the governor’s speech. Most of them seem to be useful and if they would all become a reality, St. Maarten and its citizens would be better off, apart from those who are approaching their pension, because there is another increase in the retirement age in the works.

A few things caught my attention because they feel like a so-called running gag: a literary device that takes the form of an amusing joke or a comical reference that appears repeatedly throughout a work of literature or other forms of storytelling.

This government wants to tackle the abuse of short term contracts. If that is not a running gag, I don’t know what is. This topic has been around in the political arena for at least two decades and apparently there is still no solution.

Nobody has apparently ever come up with questions like: what exactly is the problem? Or: how bad is it really? And, most importantly: what are we going to do about it?

The inability of politicians to put this topic to rest is a testament to how powerless they really are. That thought may be comforting to some, but I find it rather alarming. I mean, in our democratic system we have delegated the authority to solve problems to those we elect to parliament. We don’t elect them to create them, or to make sure that they do not disappear.

I have more than once written about this foolproof formula: I + A = R (Intention plus Action is Result). In this case, politicians are bursting at the seams with intentions but so far they have never taken the action that is required to get a result.

As the saying goes: the road to hell is paved with good intentions. That’s basically saying the same thing with other words, the keyword being intentions. Nobody has ever solved a problem by announcing his or her intention to do something.

Let’s put it in simpler terms and say: “Hey bro, I intend to open the door.” I can assure you that the damn door will remain closed until the speaker takes action and makes the necessary steps to open it.

With all this in mind, I was not at all amused by the stuff the government fed the governor for his speech. It is, in many ways, a whole lot of wishful thinking, though I will be the first to apologize if I have it all wrong.

Wait for it but in the meantime, don’t hold your breath.


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St. Maarten faces significant challenges, Governor Baly says