POSTED: 04/15/14 1:30 AM

St. Maarten – A large cross-section of the public turned out to the National Alliance Congress that was held at the Cay Hill Community Center yesterday evening.  It appeared to be the largest turnout for a congress held by any of the political parties to date.

The key note speaker, with the theme Rebuilding From Within, set the stage for the congress. In sharing his observations of the current situation of the island said that the current situation of the island leaves much to be desire and if one is to take an opinion poll it would reveal that it raises more questions than answers. He pointed out that some would even assert that in essence that the gap between that was promised is steadily widening between what was promised and what is actually delivered.

He described this as “unjustifiable inequality” particularly in the wealth distribution of material and social and resources, especially with the six months contracts, high cost of living, and the staggering unemployment, brutal austerity measures and the over emphasis of attracting foreign investors instead of treating the local people as investors.  This statement brought a huge round of applause from the audience.

He mentioned that at times “it seems as though justice and equality is reserved and enjoyed by a privileged few, and by the stroke of a pen one group or class intent on securing political and economic power make long term decisions to the detriment of countless unborn generations. The fundamental needs of our society, national environment and cultural heritage are subordinated by the elusive quest for economic growth and modernity.”

There seems to be a calculated system of prejudice against others such as mature and young professionals verses expats, he said, from developed countries and the labor market with the policies that discourage families from purchasing their own homes against small turn-key businesses. He noted that today, the common perception is that individuals either enter into public office to enrich themselves, where they are allowed to travel, earn a handsome salary, and above all are above the law.

He said that in some cases that some will say that they will give their support to a particular candidate of political party, with the expectations “to share in the spoils” when they are reaped.  In his view, there is no society where the electorate is passive, fearful and in denial and allows their political leaders to rule with impunity.

“To remain on this slippery path is to flirt and to orquestrate its own demise and apart from that, to a significant extent, public trust in a political process. Confidence in Parliament and the executive branch is gradually deteorating to the point where some are unreachable and disenfranchised,” he said.

He indicated that quite frankly some feel more betrayed by the policy decisions and the actions of their political party and more importantly a large section of the population of St. Maarten are not feeling any better than they did four years ago and as a result feel that the parties are “out of touch with the people and only come around every four years.”

He said that they literally fall over themselves “to whisper sweet nothings in your ears” with the hope of occupying a permanent position in ones’ mental stage. He however, admits that some progress has been made in government with regard to education, sports, foreign relations and closer relations with the administration on the French side of the island.

He admitted also the strides made for a small claims court and the consumer protection agency and the hard work of countless volunteers and NGO’s who have made salient contributions within their communities.  With all this said, he mentioned that there are still some areas that the party must concentrate their energies which generate peoples’ solutions to these concerns since there is no time like now to build from within.

He pointed out that even couples need to go on a retreat to strengthen their relationship where they can carefully examine their problems and come to solid solutions. The devastation of Hurricane Luis was also the focus to measure the tenacity of the people when it was mentioned that St. Maarten was finished. He said that there was also a moment of silence for the island by international organizations who thought that the island could have never been returned to their former glory.

He noted that rebuilding from within does not necessarily mean that something is wrong or the party is weak. This simply means that we need more out of life and driven by a higher purpose with higher expectations of oneself and others by continually maximizing our potential even if it means coming out of our comfort zone.

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