For this coming New Year I would like the government of St. Maarten to start governing by the laws of the country. Start by making everyone be more Law abiding citizens, starting with our elected officials, who are supposed to lead by example. The main priority of government is to make sure that the health of its citizens comes first.
There are a lot of laws that aren’t being followed by government nor the people of the country. The Ombudsman sent a letter to government outlining some issues about the traffic laws that aren’t being carried out properly, a lot of violations were given out and a lot of them it seems were done illegally. I hope she will also follow-up by telling them, that they too need to adhere to the laws about closures on holidays; there are just a few holidays that the entire country is supposed to close for businesses to the public, and they are not being followed. No government officials are above the law to make adjustments to please any businesses and allow them to open when they should be closed. In cases of those holidays, the only places that should be allowed to open are, Pharmacies and establishments at resorts and at the ports; other than that, every business should be closed.
It is time now for government to address the employment situation. The abuse has to stop and the labor department has to be more involved, government’s job is to make sure that the relationship between all parties are to be carried out in the right manner. People with more secure jobs will result in a better economy because people will spend more because they have a secure job, it is time also for government to set the minimum wage to a more livable wage, and at the same time adjust the cost of living (COL), that it doesn’t go up when raising the minimum wage. I’m hoping that government uses this situation we are going through to make serious decisions and reach out to businesses and dialogue so that the country can get back on its feet, and do our best to get St Maarten back to where it once was. We cannot live in the past, by continuously fussing about all the mistakes governments over the last 50 years have made that has the country in this situation; but we definitely have to learnt from it and prepare the country for any situation that we may face in the future.
St. Maarten is a blessed country and we will bounce back, but we need each other in order for this to happen. We all have to do our part, help encourage and build each other up and stop criticizing each other, because it starts with us the citizens. We are the ones who ultimately decides who get elected to be our representatives, and if we start making the right choices, better decisions will follow. How can we become independent when we have so many of our people living in poverty, barely making ends meet and basically living from paycheck to paycheck? It means that too many people are dependent on government for whatever they need, rather than our people being more independent, and standing on their own two feet and are able to maintaining themselves. Our Education system must get better, so that our people can benefit from it.
Leaders build better leaders to take charge; instead what we see, they suppress their people and not uplift them. For years now we have been underpaid and it’s time to inherit what is rightfully ours. The priorities of government should be to educate its people, create opportunities for them, and to protect them from any major companies or investors who comes to the Island and are abusing our people; working them as if they are slaves. Our people deserve better, and I hope this New Year will bring changes in these areas.