Former Commissioner Edgar Lynch passes away

POSTED: 03/30/11 1:03 PM

A Christian politician with a positive mind

St. Maarten / By Hilbert Haar – When the Today Newspaper interviewed Edgar Lynch on October 8 of last year, just one week after his wife Nilda Arduin had been appointed as the island’s first Ombudsman, there were no indications whatsoever of a life almost spent. Yet, on Monday evening, Lynch passed away in his sleep, aged just 59.

Lynch was a member of the National Alliance. This year would have marked his fortieth year of involvement in local politics. He is a former Commissioner of Public Health, Social Affairs, Security and the Fire Department. He was also a member of the local Christian Council. The last time he visited our newspaper was to ask for the publication of a banner announcing the National Prayer Breakfast that took place on March 3 at the Maho Convention Center.

Lynch considered his reaction to the 1995 Pourrier report Make it Work, that made the case for keeping the Netherlands Antilles together, as the defining moment in his political career.

“The restructuring Pourrier suggested favored the biggest island, Curacao. I asked: is there a possibility for the other islands to write a report as well? From there on the sentiment about more autonomy started to grow,” he said in the October 2010 Today Newspaper-interview.

Lynch was convinced last year that St. Maarten was ready to step into the role of autonomous country. “We are ready. We have written our own constitution, we have negotiated what we wanted. As a people we have matured to that extent: this is what we want and we are going to work on it. There is a great sense of maturity, and there are a number of people, on the island and elsewhere, who will fit in to build our country.”

Lynch also expressed his views about the importance of the St. Maartener in the island’s future, and about how to define them. “You are a St. Maartener by birth, or by ancestral rights. The third category consists of people who have made St. Maarten their home and who have been living here for ten or twenty years.” Such a definition, Lynch said, could still be added to the constitution.

Asked about the biggest challenge St. Maarten is facing, Lynch had the following to say: “The mindset has to change. Ministers must be able to write policy for their ministry and they must be able to defend it in parliament. This is going to be a challenging time for our government, but I am happy that we have reached this stage. I am glad that the people of St. Maarten are able to witness this moment.”

The latter comment, of course, refers to the transition to country status on October 10. The parting shot in the interview is a memorable one that ministers and parliamentarians ought to frame and hang above their bed: “Parliamentarians and the government have to know where they are, where they want to go and what they have to do to get there. Vindictiveness has to be thrown out. Positive things start in the minds of people.”

Lynch also underlined his Christian roots in the interview with the following statement: “The members of parliament have to walk around with the Bible, because this is a Christian community, with the constitution, the ordinance on registration and funding of political parties and the new electoral law. Those they have to know.”

Among his many achievements, Edgar Lynch will be remembered as the man who set up the women’s desk and the shelter for abused women now known as Safe Haven.

Together with his brother Julian he wrote Know your political history, a classic that details fifty years of politics in St. Maarten from 1949 until 1999.

Lynch was involved with two labor unions – the General Association for Government Employees (Abvo) and the Windward Islands Civil Servants Union Wicsu. He also served as the president of the Boxing Association and the Baseball Association.

 

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