(TDH) – Dear Editor, As three million passengers annually arrive on our soil, being the second busiest destination in the Caribbean, I would like to make some suggestions to government leaders, and those of us who elect them into power.
We have come a long way in terms of progress, since opening our doors to tourism in 1958. We have become a beacon to the Caribbean and elsewhere. But while there is political turmoil in every country, it seems like St. Maarten has more than its fair share. Why?
A lot of the islands look up to us, and being a young nation is not an easy thing, but then again, being a country, we need to hold country above self.
I suggest that firstly, we should use this opportunity of alleged bribery and corruption to demand that the proper procedures are followed, for once. This requires an independent investigation into certain persons, including the Justice Minister himself. For this to take place, clearly Minister Roland Duncan must step aside at least temporarily, in the interest of good governance.
Likewise, it is obvious that independent Parliamentarian Patrick Illidge should do the honourable thing, having been exposed on tape accepting money from the owner of Bada Bing, and step down as well.
We, the people, are ashamed and embarrassed of what is happening on our island, but requesting a permit to hold a peaceful demonstration on the matter would be a waste of time, because it would have to be approved by Duncan, who is the subject of the protest.
Let’s set aside our family and friendship ties for the sake of our young country that we owe the ultimate respect to as a budding democracy. Let’s regain our credibility with The Netherlands and play by the rules. It’s that simple.
Let’s get away from the money and greed culture that we’ve adopted and get back to the higher virtues, such as giving, respecting, being loyal and honest. After all, what example are we trying to give our youth and future leaders? Let’s take the high road and feel proud of ourselves! It’s our choice to make. It would be sad to see an island with so much potential fall at the hands of a few greedy people and their friends, who refuse to hold them accountable.
In concluding, St. Maarten, we owe it to ourselves to take a bigger stand and not let this scandal be swept under the carpet. We have evidence – what more do we need?
St. Maarten resident
Name withheld on request