Editorial: Reaching out, while reaching in

POSTED: 06/15/11 1:29 PM

If nothing else, day one of the inter-parliamentary consultation of the Kingdom, has revealed that St. Maarten is not only finding ways to stand on its own two feet, but that it is also willing to lend a hand to Saba to St. Eustatius. Of course that aid must be strictly defined, represent the desires of the two special municipalities and it must be something that St. Maarten can reap the benefits of by charging for the service.

The types of discussion that will come from fleshing out the cooperation agreements is something we believe this young country needs. It is a chance to engage in diplomacy and from some of the statements made it would appear that some of St. Maarten’s politicians are already quite well aware of the quid pro quo principle. For example service must be paid for, and lower ticket prices on Winair, should also mean lower ticket prices on KLM.

One must be cautious though that they don’t over play their hand. Agreeing to take on too much could spell disaster, especially since the quality of the service will likely be measured by European standards. We have no fear that in many instances the island meets and surpasses those standards, but there also likely areas where we fall below them.

One also does not want to take on too much from outside, before the island is set up well enough to also ensure that the people here can have appropriate service. This is particularly important, as members of the local population also have to carry out some of the services that will be offered, and unhappy service providers, do not provide good service.

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