PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – It is as if St. Maarten has not been hit with enough bad news in its’ infant stage as a country having to deal with all type of manmade catastrophes, from five unstable governments in five years to integrity issues and corrupt elected officials.
Electoral reform debate: Revisited
Julio R. Romney, Political Analyst
Hidden under the wing of autocracy, cut off from the people of St. Maarten by non-transparence and promised participation in the process, Electoral Reform in time for the September 26, 2016 Parliamentary election appears likely to be out of reach now or any time in the near future.
The Hon. Chairman of the Ministerial Council of the Association of Caribbean States
5-7 Sweet Briar Road, St. Clair
P.O. Box 660, Port of Spain
Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies
Kralendijk/Willemstad, June 2nd, 2016
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Facts
The main question the reporter should be asking is why did government have to pay a 3rd party such a large amount.
The third party took government to court because they cooperated with government to write off an investment of over US$ 2.3 million of a different system and returning valuable bandwidth to country St. Maarten. The regulator would be able to use that for mobile applications which can generate millions instead of the thousands being collected. In return the government had to pay for a new system as it did in the past when moving radio stations out of their frequencies to use for mobile operators
Furthermore, the court of St. Maarten ruled on various occasions that government and the third party should sit down and try to negotiate an agreement . Which is what another minister and myself did. Furthermore, every case the client took to court the government lost.
The client was asking for over 1.5 million dollars. Another issue was also that the regulator did not assign the frequencies to the third party. We negotiated that the client would return some of the bandwidth and get damages of $1,000,000 including government getting the use of the third party’s platform to air a TV channel for DECOM thereby saving government millions by not having to set up their own TV channels.
In government every contract a minister signs he can be held responsible for it. However, there are some built in controls that can mitigate the publishing of the names of signatories. Before a large agreement can be signed and paid the governor has to give his approval and the council of ministers also have to approve it.
The letter that was signed is a synopsis of the agreement reached between government and the third party which was requested by the lawyer to make a proposal for the Council of Ministers to approve.
The government must stop playing politics when it can cost the tax payers money. If a third party requests licenses government should have their departments issue them on a timely basis. Because the cost of politrickery is high.
Before a negotiated agreement can be signed and paid the governor and council of ministers have to approve it.
Government should stop wasting the people’s money by going to court for cases they know they will lose. That only benefits the lawyers who collect fees.
Government should work in the interest of the taxpayers and abstain from actions that will cost the population millions.
The news on St. Maarten should report facts and not always try to downgrade someone. Especially after my team negotiated a contract that saved government thousands of dollars and got products in return that can generate a revenue stream of millions for government in the future.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Earlier this week we read that a young man of 21 years was gunned down in the city of Schiedam in the Netherlands. The fact that he was dark complexioned, and ethno-racial profiling among Dutch police officers in the Netherlands is condoned as an unfortunate security measure.
It have caused many activists throughout the Kingdom of the Netherlands to argue that this is one of the outcomes of a situation where, it has become politically suspect to say that racism within the Dutch Kingdom is unacceptable!
In this contribution, we seek to say the new politically suspect as loud as possible: Dutch racism is unacceptable! “Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words can never hurt us.” Whoever wholeheartedly believes that this saying holds all the time, and in every occasion, is either lying to themselves or not part of the human species.
The fact is that words like stones can lead to suffering. It is true that the hurt produced by words is of a different kind—psychological rather than physical—but a hurt it is nevertheless. What is more, we remain silent when listening to these words, forgetting that these words can lead to actions.
The racist slurs hurled at chocolate coloured Dutch pop icons, activists and TV presenters (to name a few; Sylvana Simmons, the poet and dramatist Quinsy Gario, and the rappers Kno’ledge Cesare and Typhoon), contest what they perceive as the racism embedded in the annual Sint Nicolaas and Black Peter celebrations, which many believe leads to psychological suffering.
In addition, the treatment that they and the many thousands of dark skinned Dutch men and women (who do not have the benefit of being celebrities) receive because they allow opposing views, is unacceptable. If persons in the Netherlands tolerate that kind of psychological hurt, which we term verbal racial discrimination, they are destroying the very foundations of the social democracy they so cherish.
One of the building blocks of the democratic tradition, is the belief that everyone has a right and a duty to freely express their individuality, and therewith pursue becoming who they want to be; in short, making a life for themselves as independent and free individuals. In that pursuit, however, they have to take their fellow citizens and others with whom they live (denizens, irregular migrants, and animals as they too increasingly have rights!) into account.
The state, the government apparatus, is there for two reasons:
1) to ensure the human dignity of individuals who live within their borders and their endeavours to better express and make themselves by providing all kinds of provisions, such as equal opportunities to education and general healthcare, etc.,
2) and conversely, to offer overall protection by creating incentives (informative campaigns, punishments and fines) to prevent and curtail individuals’ acts that damage the social bond and unjustly cause suffering to others within the country’s borders – and due to the International Bill of Human Rights also outside those borders; the global common good.
It goes terribly wrong, and there are growing signs of this, when elected officials in the Netherlands become the chief instigators in the trend to demolish the social democratic tradition of their country. Let me furnish an illustration. A few days ago, in a TV interview, Mr. Halbe Zijlstra, the former State Secretary in charge of Education and Science, and currently Member of the Dutch Parliament for the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), stated that he condones ethno-racial profiling by the Dutch police. This was in reference to the discrimination suffered by rapper Typhoon, who was pulled over because the officer reasoned that a person with his dark complexion should not be driving such an expensive car.
He implicitly reasoned that the psychological hurt endured by Typhoon and other victims does not weigh up against – making selective use of sociological statistics – the general safety of the Dutch population, as everyone ‘knows’ that dark complexioned Dutch men and women commit more crime. Aside it is important to note that it is customary for politicians in The Hague to refer to dark complexioned Dutch men and women as allochtonen, meaning those who do not really belong to the Dutch soil or who do not have the right blood.
A case of racism dressed up in Sunday school clothes that makes Dutch Antilleans and Surinamese-Dutch (who like their grandparents have never carried any other passport than a Dutch one), not really Dutch! And the idea that Dutch citizens of Moroccan, Turkish, Eastern European descendant have it better because of their lighter skin tone and other physical features is a lie. Individuality, autonomy, and the right to make oneself, are sacrificed when one is a dark complexioned Dutch man or woman, and the latter are told that they should find that acceptable!
Since one must take MP Zijlstra to be a reasonable man, a free and rational human being, we are sure that he would not condone that pink-skinned Dutch citizens, who hail from the Netherlands, living here in the Caribbean side of the Dutch Kingdom accept ethno-racial profiling. Zijlstra and we are guessing other politicians with the portfolio of the Dutch Caribbean would immediately respond. No amount of selective use of statistics, even if those statistics were true, would suffice in making it acceptable that the ‘somebodiness’ of individuals to use the term of Martin Luther King is disrespected. And so it should be!
Dutch racism in which ever form, whoever perpetuates it, ought to be unacceptable in any part of the Kingdom! And we have our share here too! Perhaps it is time that those in power consider a trans-Atlantic committee to rid us all from that blight that manifest itself in words and in deeds.
Dr. Francio Guadeloupe, President of the University of St. Martin (USM)
Dr. Adnan Hossain, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Amsterdam
Dr. Natasha Gittens, Director of the USM/SCELL
Drs. Jordi Halfman, University of Amsterdam
Ms. Geneve Phillip, Dean of Academics, USM
Drs. Lisenne Delgado, University of Curaçao
Drs. Sharelly Emanuelson, Founder of UNIARTE, Curaçao
Mr. Pedro de Weever, Lecturer at the USM
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - As a parent of two students in the Sixth Grade or Group 8, I wish to bring to the attention of the public, the Ministry of Education and the relevant stake holders the gross incivility meted out to our children, students attending the Public Schools.
On Thursday 19th May, 2016, a meeting was held at the Senior Citizens’ Hall in Hope Estate across from the Marie Genevieve De Weever Primary School. The meeting was hosted by the Director of Public Education and the School Managers to brief parents about the school leaving exercise for the Group 8/grade 6 students.
I was only notified of this meeting the evening before by my children when I got home from work. I was in my children’s interest that I attended the meeting although the short notice.
I expected to hear complimentary things about the school leaving exercise but was most disappointed.
WHY? For the past two years, the Education Ministry decided to dictate the format of the exercise of which parents agreed. This was that a fee of one hundred dollars -$100 will be paid by each student. This money will provide the child with clothing and to secure a venue including a light snack. However, this year, a grey gown was the choice of clothing. The students will wear their school uniform to attend the ceremony with the gown.
This is not acceptable because the uniforms are worn and the children deserve to be better dressed. For me, it is either my children are provided with proper clothing or a refund of sixty dollars-$60.
The math in this scenario shows that forty dollars -$40 per child will yield over nine thousand five hundred dollars-$9,500.
Now at the meeting, the manner in which the Director addressed the parents was distasteful to put it mildly. These are our children and we have a right to be involved in decisions concerning our children. The Director is a dictator. She cannot tell parents that her decision is final and that parents do not have any other choice. Her remarks were supported by the Lionel Connor School Manager.
Parents felt unappreciated and disrespected, and tried to voice their concerns. The Director and the school manager from Lionel Connor were not accommodating. The other managers especially Martin Luther King and Orange school laughed at us.
Notably, many students were present at this meeting and heard the rough and impoliteness manner in which the Director and principle spoke and witnessed their uncultured behavior.
I am wondering what kind of people are these School Managers and this Director. They deal with our children daily and have our children’s future in their hands.
The irony of this situation is that, most teachers and those at the Education ministry do not have their children attending Public School. Their children attend the Semi private schools, the Catholic, Adventist, Hill Side, the MAC and Private schools, Learning Unlimited and CIA.
Further, the Director and the Orange School Principle have their children abroad; the principles of the Martin Luther King and Lionel Connor Schools have none. Do these persons really care how parents feel, more so the children-students entrusted to their care.
They have put forward the point that, they want parents to save money. That is not their business. They are totally out of place to think that. Can parents tell them what to do with their money and on whom they should spend it on?
Parents make sacrifices for their children. Therefore, I am calling on the Minister of Education and those in the higher authoritative position to urgently rectify this situation. The Director and principles need to publicly apologize to the parents and our children.
Yours Aggrieved but Concerned Parent
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Dear Editor,
The WICSU/PSU Union was appalled upon reading the headline Daily Herald, Thursday May 19th, 2016 "Prison guards suspended of smuggling into House of detention" Needless to say, the WICSU/PSU Union considers this to be a most disturbing and frightening development that ought to be placed very high on the agenda of the Minister of Justice. Furthermore, the WICSU/PSU Union noticed a very troubling error upon a close review of said article. According to the press release, "the workers immediately involved their union, the WICSU/PSU Union, but the new Union President has been mum since taking the post. The Daily Herald tried to contact Solognier for comment on Wednesday but was unable to reach her. She has yet to call a press conference or give a press statements about the Unions plans to resolve the issue". Dear reader, it is necessary to point out that, in truth, the prison guards in question are members of the ABVO union and as such contacted the latter i.e. ABVO to discuss the issue in further detail. That being the case, it seems completely reasonable that the ABVO Union ought to determine the necessary course of action upon obtaining accurate and complete information after conducting their investigation. Quite frankly, for the WICSU/PSU Union to comment on this issue without having all of the relevant facts would be to breach protocol and is against the spirit of unity & solidarity we enjoy with the ABVO Union! Furthermore, the point must be made that upon discovering the error the WICSU/PSU Union kindly requested the journalist to retract the erroneous statement made on Thursday May 22nd 2016 regarding the WICSU/PSU Union. To date, no retraction has been made. This in our view, seems rather peculiar, disappointing and unprofessional to say the least. Ultimately, the publishing of incomplete or inaccurate information might be considered to be a great disservice to the loyal readers, at home and abroad. Nevertheless, since the development at the Point Blanche House of detention is currently under the microscope, the WICSU/PSU Union wishes to draw the reader's attention to the following. Truthfully, space does not permit the WICSU/PSU Union to chronicle the host of issues affecting and often times prohibits prison guards from effectively carrying out of their duties. However, the Union is very concerned about the working conditions, training, health and safety issues affecting prison guards. The WICSU/PSU Union fears that should the aforementioned issues remain unresolved and continue will further fuel discontent among and jeopardize the safety of the prison guards and even possibly that of society. Rest assured, the WICSU/PSU Union intends to meet with all relevant authorities, within and across the Ministry of Justice, with the sole purpose of identifying and implementing practical solutions to improve the extremely worrisome working conditions at the Point Blanche House of Detention.
Together we struggle, together we achieve.
MARIGOT, St. Martin -
Why Legalize it And not ostracize it When the government Legalize gangja Ah wonder if they going te free All Them gangsters That they lock up for posession Of Marijuana And free up the jail So that they won't have any reasons To let out them politicians on bail Freedom to the gangsters For the purchasing of gangja But jail to the politicians if THEY purchased votes from A brother So more gangsters will end Upp In parliament working While the politicians Upp On the hill Chilling And the government will Be run from the hill While the pushers occupied The new building on pond fill By Legalizing canabis Will also permit his honor the Minister Of health to stop The smoking of the DUMP On pond fill And now move it to the Medical Center in Kay hill For it's far less Dangerous To exhale gangja Than inhale the pond fill Smoke that's Cancerous So the St Maarten Medical Center Will now be renamed St MAARTEN
MARIE_WARNER CENTER Copyright 2016 Big Ray
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Dear MP Wescot-Williams,
By means of this letter, I am following up with Minister Silveria Jacobs about what progress, if any, has been made on the grievances raised by teachers about the management and management personnel in the Public Education Department and on the matter of outsourcing of school bus transportation.
My questions to the minister on topics are as follows:
1. Has the minister met with and/or updated the teachers on the resolution of their grievances with the Education Department personnel?
2. Has any meeting or contact been made with the Education Department personnel in question about the issues raised by the teachers?
3. Have the teachers been given any commitment from the minister about the ensuring their grievances if/when fixed will not reoccur in the future?
4. There is an issue at Milton Peters College with the availability of teachers for the TKL section in the area of Economics and Mathematics. How is this issue being tackled?
5. It is understood there are personnel issues in TKL. Is the minister aware of this? If yes, what is being done to solve it?
6. There is an ongoing situation with one teacher related to the non-transfer of the information to students have been proven fruitless. Management is said to be aware of the situation and has been working with the teacher who leads especially exam classes. Can you investigate this and provide a confirmed solution as well as what the plan will be moving forward?
7. What is the latest with Government’s plan to “outsource” the school bus operations?
8. The bidding process for the school bus operations has been put on hold. What is the latest on this?
9. What is the arrangement, if any, for the school bus transportation for the new school year?
10. What has been communicated to the existing bus drivers about the new situation?
I look forward to the prompt answers from the minister.
MP Tamara Leonard
United People’s party
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The meeting requested by all 7 opposition members on vote-buying is scheduled for tomorrow Monday, at 2 pm. The Minister of Justice has been invited to this public meeting.
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