I recently watched a tourism promotional video clip sent to me by my nephew Stephan, issued by the Department of Tourism for Malaga, an old Spanish city and some thoughts ran through my mind:
St. Maarten/Saint Martin has so much to learn from places like for instance Malaga, in the South Eastern section of Spain, when it comes to the “how to” part of tourism. But then Malaga is a quite a bit older and in this case, probably a bit wiser. On our island we have to fix our outdated and terribly deficient tax system so that everyone can with great ease and not a lot of effort pay his/her fair share of taxes. Because without money in the coffers, no government can achieve the level of service and services a population must be able to expect at a minimum and more. Then simultaneously we have to attract the best and the brightest of our own people to fill crucial positions needed to go forward with a vision. Then we need politicians that are able to govern with integrity, wisdom and selfless passion, providing leadership that while focusing on the nuts function of Government, they and it do not get in the way of “free enterprise”, but FACILITATE it. Our Judicial system must be swift in meting out fair and consistent judicial oversight, that encourages people to do “the right thing” and quickly punishes those that don’t.
We must stop importing “poverty” and where we do not have QUALIFIED locals (people with roots either through family ancestry and/or investment and/or blood, sweat and tears), we must not be afraid to attract/import and pay for the best and the brightest from anywhere in the world to help raise “the levels that will allow all boats to float”.
And then as a community, we the people must contribute our fair share of whatever “positive-ness” we have to offer St. Maarten/Saint Martin. We must stop accepting mediocrity…..stop hiding behind “I from here and you are a foreigner”…….stop playing the “race” card when we run out of solid arguments. We must learn to respect one another for who and what we are… COVID19 may be offering us a “Reset” button. Why don’t we hit it?