PHILISBURG, Sint Maarten – Mr. Editor, as I listen to all the talk surrounding our social issues and slow pace of the Home Repair program, I am not seeing any of our Representatives or the Recovery Bureau coming with an plan of action of how they are going to change the criteria or speed up the slow process. It takes a true Leader to admit he or she made a mistake and miscalculated the criteria and we want to do it right by amending the criteria and speeding up the process for the wellbeing of our people to build back better.
This is the type of leadership St. Maarten needs right now. We need Leaders who going to stand up for our people and St. Maarten. If you see the type of Representation we have now, they are afraid of their own shadow, the Dutch, World Bank or just going with the flow with lip service of addressing the issues.
I am amazed by the type of representation and lip service with no action with the Home Repair project. Some of our representatives are even saying they already addressed these issues with the World Bank and the Dutch, but nothing happened. I just find that approach just weak representation.
Mr. Editor, if I was representing our people, I would admit that we made a mistake and amend the criteria and speed up the process to build back better for our people. If the Dutch or World Bank don’t agree then they are not working in good faith for the general interest of our people. I will tell them thanks but no thanks for their support of showing their true colors in a time when they should be showing support as equal partners within the Kingdom.
I will stand up for my people and speak the truth. I always believe the truth will set you free. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that any Country that brings in the IMF or World Bank to assist you through guidelines is too keep you in check and slow down the process of any development. But some of our Representatives are still defending the slow process by telling us how much they have done, I told you so and to be patient (2 years after Irma) and playing with the people’s intelligence by posting ads in our newspaper about the long procurement process and even given most of the work to the World Bank consultants who are charging us hefty fees for the same idea that our local consultants presented to Government years ago.
Then the question is who we are representing and doing the criteria for of the home repairs and building back better. If a criteria is not working then you need to adjust it based on a factual report in which the Ombudsman presented to our representatives. That’s not the way a true leader stands up for our people in a time when they are looking for good governance and leadership. I have not seen any action on behalf of government to address the home repair project other than the Minister of VROMI talking about the slow process and Government stating that they going to work along with the Recovery Bureau when they should be addressing to change the criteria of the home repair project.
Mr. Editor, you can’t govern an island in fear and based on another country rules and guidelines. If we are really representing our people, we would of already stand up and do something about the Ombudsman report. All we do is talk about the report or even criticize the report which is based on facts instead of standing up and admitting where we went wrong. But the question is which one of our Leaders will take that stand or admit they made a mistake to the people and then move forward in the right direction.
We have to stop, get back on track and develop our own road map for St. Martin instead of copying and pacing others constitution and way of doing things. We need to amend our electorial ordinance to stop having all these elections, decide on our National Song and start educating our people about our culture and laws. We also got to learn to work together and stop keeping our people down. It’s hurt my heart to see how we treat our own seniors who have built this island to give us this opportunity to serve our island. Then for us to turn around and tell those same seniors they have not met the criteria to build back better of their homes while some of them have been living in their family property home for over 30 years. Simply Amazing process of helping our own seniors who have lay the foundation for St. Martin.
Mr. Editor, I can remember when the former Ombudsman along with the Ombudsman of Holland wrote a letter about the slow process to the Kingdom, our own local Representatives got upset behind the scene with them. Now the current Ombudsman wrote a factual report about the Home Repair Program and some of our own representatives who was in Government at the time are questioning the factual report.
They have done their job. Now it is up to our local representatives to stand up with honesty and come with an action plan to move our people forward.
The sad part of this factual report entitled: “Home Repair, a Revelation of a Social Crisis” is it only represents a small fraction of our local people hurting in St. Maarten. Allot of local people and businesses are also hurting in silence but who do they go to for assistance without being send on a merry go around.
In closing, we need to get away from the talk, self and defending others guidelines which is intended to slow down the process. We need to reset our own criteria even adjust it if it is not working based on our culture and people. We got to get serious with the people business and set our priorities straight in the general interest of the people. It’s high time some of our Representatives start standing up for our people through honesty and stop the talk and playing with our local people’s intelligence to move St. Maarten forward in the right direction.
We need Leaders who are going to stand up and talk truth of building back better for our people within a realistic time frame.