Letter: Honor lost

POSTED: 11/16/11 4:17 AM

Dear St. Maarten,
We are hurt, we are dishonored and we are shocked by the way St. Martin Day was organized. We, the Scouts of St. Martin, had all intentions to participate in what we always did. Not only was it a tradition but it is something we were expected to do. I’m speaking about the uniformed parades in which we had to end up begging and lobbying by the committee to participate in a parade that was spearheaded by the scouts and brigades. Not only spearheaded most of living memory it was only the scouts and brigades marched on St. Maarten Day because there was no other to do so. All the johnny come latelys are put in the lime light like it was something they always did. But must people cannot remember them. They remember the scouts and the brigades.
We are by no means jealous of them because neither the scouts nor the brigades have jealousy in their curriculum. What we teach our scouts is the stuff good people want to see and know from their children. Which is good civics, respect, honor, loyalty, reverence, cleanliness and obedience. These are the things that make good police, firemen, VKS, military and more. We can boast that for many police, firemen and military the passion for their job started with the scouts and brigades. Who are these people who organize such parade to dare to micromanage the scouts and brigades citing that they can’t keep up with the pace of the police and VKS? Who are these people who dare to dishonor our uniforms by saying we are poorly dressed? Sure they relegated us to cultural parades when you can see how your girl children can wok up and dance in the street etc. We mean no disrespect because we honor culture, but it is by no means a venue for our scouts and brigades.
Our dress code our badges and symbols are not cultural because we belong to a world fraternity and sorority of over 70 million and every badge is to show what we can do and represent hard work, endurance and knowledge. If these people don’t recognize that well then here is our promise we recite every Saturday or whenever we meet: “I promise to do my best, to do my duty to God and my country, to help other people at all times and to obey the scouts’ law.” This is recited every Saturday by children from the age of 7 to the age of 18 and beyond for those who become eagle scouts [rowans]. So who are you to tell us we can’t dress or keep up?
I honor the pathfinders for turning out anyhow with a great group and parade with honor and dignity to their name and church. They at least had the courage to come out no matter what was said. We, who stooped to the committee and did as we are told, felt left out and my scouts cried when they could not give the governor the salute. Many of my scouts remember when we were the only group who marched through the rains [big and small] to give the Lt. governor the salute and they were proud of it. We paraded in Curacao for the governor and he was elated by our visit and salute. Only now the opportunity to salute our first governor in the first year of the country we proudly promise to serve was denied by poor organization of our parades. Only to know that Curacao parades are virtually run by scout and brigades. To know that they were given the honor to remove the Netherlands Antilles flag and to hoist their own while we have to beg to participate in our own parades. We are hurt beyond measure. Apologies would not be enough to undo what was done.
There are those in the police, fire department and government who should have stood up. But they didn’t. Many people were dismayed by the poor showing of the scout and no brigades. The governor and the government didn’t see that there are still disciplined young people within their society, who care and who pledge to serve this country. Now everyone think the thugs have won and there no more good civil children left on St. Maarten. We the leaders of these group who volunteers 1/7 of our lives, yes 1/7 of our entire lives to teach children self respect, to be leaders, to be self-sufficient and to be good citizens are dishonored by people who spoil their children with electronic games and money and what have you. But I’m happy to report that the churches and the scouts know better and they can rely on their own merit that we are still there and we have made a promise to God and country to continue to good work for good and country despite our setback and dishonor. We are brave and strong and good ambassadors to our God and country and no dishonor can take that away.
This was supposed to be the stage where we could have shown what great kids we have and that there is hope for our kids on St. Maarten. That they cried made me feel proud because they wanted to show the entire community that they are still there. We ask the people of St. Maarten, whether you are from here or not, to not ask your children to join our international fraternity and sorority but to make them a member and let them know that it is a must to be a part of these groups to learn to good things of good civics and to be self- sufficient and to show respect. Otherwise when a child doesn’t say good morning, afternoon or night it is because he never learnt to say so. If he doesn’t know the value of doing a good turn daily or helping others, it is because he was never taught.
But more over the government of this country is now asked: How do you want people in general to help your police and law enforcement if our kids grow up with the feeling that they are criminals by default? If they are afraid of gunshots shot by the VKS? Yes they heard the shots and were scared because they too heard of all the unsolved murders and shooting that is happening around them. Yes you were impressed by this but our victimized kids thought it was the end of the world and they were being shot at knowing that everyone thinks they are criminals.
I have long waited for the day to come when someone from your uniformed service would come to us and show our kids what they do so that they know what we teach them has a good purpose, but this doesn’t happen and we are left all alone to just tell them that these services are good and necessary. Yes it is like no one care but us, but we have God and hope that they would learn and show good civics in the future and be the leaders of tomorrow. Even if we never march again!
I’m a Hopman scoutmaster of the Mohican scout group and I’m hurt beyond measure but by no means discouraged because, as the saying goes, once a scout always a scout!

Orlando Haynes

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