We’re not talking about…
This week was eerily scant in the papers when it comes to the upcoming elections. I’ve always been puzzled by how nonchalant the press, the community, and even the political parties themselves are when it comes to educating us about their viewpoints and aspirations.
It shouldn’t be this silent so close to September.
Anyway, here’s our first round-up.
Continuity = being beggars
Let’s start with The Herald’s editorial on Wednesday 25. In view of the Forum’s post from last week dealing with tourism, Cuba and ‘fake-fake’ destinations, you can judge for yourself whether or not The Herald is learning the lesson from the Cuba issue.
The writer’s view is actually a perfect example of what’s wrong with tourism on a whole as a means for economic development. if you feel forced to develop the island as a destination that meet’s Disney Cruise Lines criteria, they you’re already lost. You’re that dog chasing it’s tail. You create a fake environment where the indigenous culture can no longer see itself. A few years later the tourist tires of such a fake place, and you realize you had the wrong engine for economic development in the first place.
What we’re not talking about is… how to build a real economy that supports tourism in a sustainable way, while at the same time derives revenues from other sources.
Meanwhile, PM Rutte is attending the ACS summit on Jun 4. Just in case you didn’t know, the ACS has been the most vocal entity in promoting Norman Girvan’s principle of sustainable tourism. Go ahead and Google it. Those ideas are in direct contrast to the Herald’s editorial viewpoint. I alluded to this a few weeks ago because of Girvan’s relationship with Bert Tucker, who was here to talk about these same things in 2001 when the PMIA got going again.
Look where it’s happening… Havana! Think that’s a coincidence? I want to see the Herald report on what Rutte brings out of that summit. I suspect they’ll be quite silent about it. One can dream though, right? We should also be looking forward to what the ABC islands bring from Havana. make sure you check out last’ week’s post for some context.
What was Stuart thinking?
The whole plagiarized post thing is perplexing to me. A student doing such a thing is a serious infraction. Still, as educators we’d give you a “cuff on the knuckles” and force you to do your work in an honest way.
But when a young educational manager with political aspirations does it? Sigh…and I like the guy! Last thing I wanted to see is a young person quoting run-of-the-mill ideas developed in the 1950’s by the the Republican party’s libertarian think-tank. Methinks he’d have done a whole lot better to have consulted with Ralph Contave, our UNESCO youth rep. But then again, few politicians are stepping forward to acknowledge the economic wisdom of preserving cultural heritage.
In any case, I really don’t know what to make of it. Some of my colleagues will tell you it’s a disturbing sign of someone entertaining “delusions of grandeur.” I can’t even think that far. Heck, listen to Sander’s preamble in his speech on poverty and it doesn’t take long to realize there is very little that is congruous with realities on St. Maarten.
Besides, Bernie just isn’t all that impressive. I mean, the trickle-down principle of Reaganomics that his party still champions is exactly what’s responsible for the disappearance of the middle class in America.
So we can busy ourselves with the act of plagiarism itself…sure. But what we’re not talking about is… how intellectually bankrupt do you have to be to find it necessary to cut and paste highly questionable solutions developed for a totally different situation?
I’m holding off on this issue in St. Maarten for the time being. For now, let’s just follow anything that has to do with Justice and law enforcement and look out for patterns. Acting Secretary-Generals being arrested for abuse of power speaks of a long established pattern.
Justice is a sticky issue in former colonies. Colonial powers have always subjugated indigenous populations via Justice instruments, apparatus and personnel. It’s part of the reason why they insist on keeping responsibility for it whenever they could. But it’s usually a slippery slope.
Here’s the thing. If responsibility for Justice lies at the Kingdom level, and then they report that something has gone awfully wrong at the island or territorial level, you’d have to assume they’ve put the legal authority and resources in the right hands, and in the right place in our part of the Kingdom, then delegated responsibility. Makes sense?
So what we’re not talking about is…did they do those things? If they did, no need to point fingers; just roll the head of whomever you delegated responsibility to. If you DIDN’T put those things in place, then they’ve made us responsible for something we have no control over. In which case, why did they do that? And where’s the outcry from our own leaders?
In either case, how is it our fault but still their responsibility? How come they get to point fingers?
I wish Nilda Arduin would provide us with a succinct answer that’s void of jargon. We, the common people, need to understand what’s real. Right now, I just don’t get it.
World’s most expensive bird house
Then yesterday, the first story in the Herald was on PM Marlin posturing with the Government Building.
Oh my. You can spin anything when elections are coming. Wasn’t he the one who very accurately described the building not so long ago as the world’s most expensive bird house?
Want to know what I’d have liked to hear him talk about instead? We’re not talking about how much that building has cost the St. Maarten taxpayer before construction, during construction, and since construction. What’s the dollar-figure? Can we ask someone to make that information public?
And while we’re at it, why isn’t the established press asking that same question? Why isn’t the opposition? There are valuable lessons for the community to learn here, but someone has to make the information public first.
What’s the real story with UTS?
A few years ago Theo made a public quip that he wasn’t going to support UTS as a customer any more because they’re not a local company. I couldn’t help wondering what else he wasn’t saying.
Then we hear earlier this year about fraud. But the details were scant. The papers print little more than press releases about these potentially explosive stories.
Today’s Herald reports surface trivia again: “Govt. will likely name UTS board reps in shareholders meeting today.”
Will a good reporter please stand up and tell us the real story behind the story?
Of good governance, the CFT, and annual budgets
Finally, we’re not talking about all the missing information about the CFT. Did anyone hear about the CFT before 10-10-10? What’s the history of the CFT? When were they first convened, and what was the backdrop? Can we for once have DETAILS please? In plain language instead of press-release garble that makes you want to stop reading after 7 seconds?
Here’s another one: On an island territory where we routinely debate budgets for the current fiscal year, you have to wonder if everyone forgot what a budget is for. Shouldn’t the budget we’re debating and trying to get approved this year be the 2017 budget? Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work? I’m no expert or anything, that’s why I ask. But isn’t a budget supposed to be a plan for future transactions? When did we make it normal and accepted to approve something that’s already happened? Am I the only one who sees that as dangerous?
The Herald editorializes that “many feel comfortable with the presence of the CFT as a safeguard.” I think that’s a bit of a stretch. Very little of the five billion guilders deficit built up by the previous Central Government was incurred by St. Maarten. We don’t need supervision that urgently. Yes , in light of the questionable process we have in place for the day-to-day management of Government coffers, I don’t want to dismiss the CFT just yet, but to say I’m comfortable?
Speak for yourself.
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