Opinion: Are we really ready? (St. Maarten Elections)

POSTED: 04/10/14 12:55 AM

It‘s election time again on the Friendly Island. The intriguing buzz-word for this election seems to be – We Ready. Oh yeah, really? We ready? Ready for what? Ready for mobs? Ready to once again, try to steal the Emilio Wilson Park for purely selfish and commercial purposes? Or, ready for another cause-way jump up with free chicken leg and Johnny cake and rum? Or, are we ready to appear in court and face charges of bribing police-officers and others?

So, what are we ready for ? Maybe, we ready to cut up the cake called St. Maarten, in order to secure the rule and control of the plantation among certain family-clans? Ready to put the last nail in the coffin, called Simpson Bay village, a once very close-knit community of proud, industrious fishermen, now on the drawing-board of greedy Mafiosi to be replaced with more so-called development, resulting in the genocide of the Simpson Bay people, so that somebody’s off shore bank-accounts can get even fatter?

Is that the kind of readiness some are referring to – conniving, deceiving, bribing, brainwashing and the like? Are we, the people of this island going to allow politicians to take our intelligence for granted with their cheap, empty We Ready- rhetoric? Are we going to allow these good-for-nothing nincompoops to offer our future generations as sacrificial lambs on their altar to pay off their demons?

Maybe some people will, but then again- maybe some won’t. For the record to test those claiming We Ready, our movement encourages all people, all voters, talk-show-hosts, activists and others, to make the We Ready election campaign what it really should be about. Not about some trumped up urgency to build a tunnel, or to create more jobs, more schools, or a larger airport facility. These issues in and of themselves have some legitimacy, but pale completely in comparison to the real problems of the Friendly island.

For us, this election will be nothing short of a referendum on ‘What will those running for office do to prevent a bloodshed as a result of a confrontation between St. Martiners feeling overrun by immigrants and those illegal immigrants who feel this country belongs to them.’’

In other words, this referendum will be about forcing every single candidate to come clean, to both native St. Martiners and immigrants, as to where they stand with these two groups representing conflicting interests and what should be the guaranteed rights for these groups. This is the biggest issue the people on this island are facing on a daily basis and from which politicians have always shun away.

There are simply far too many immigrants on this island – period – and it has to be reversed, one way or the other to prevent outright bloodshed and to create some semblance of normalcy and a balanced socio-economic situation. Therefore, it is imperative for all residents, native St. Martiners, immigrants, legalized citizens, business people, talk show hosts, the NDP, all social partners, to confront every political party and candidate with the question, what they plan to do about this social time bomb. Dealing with this very complicated issue, that has too long been shoved under the proverbial carpet, is by far more important than all the other issues politicians would prefer to address. Avoiding to deal with this issue that many countries in the world are also dealing with is not acceptable. Not doing so, will sooner or later result in blood shed on the Friendly Island.

One can dislike and focus on the messenger again, but the message is clear and smack in everyone’s face and everyone knows that. Unless, every political party or candidate presents a very clear, written position, or manifesto on this issue, forget about being ready – that will only be an illusion at best – a deception and betrayal at worst, for which each and every candidate will be held responsible.

Let the debate take place and let us start thinking about concepts and words like; revoking permits, formulating special rights for native St. Martiners, tax-holidays for St. Martin people, pay-to-stay, amending the constitution to protect native St. Martiners, the St. Martin ID-card, St. Martiners first in the job-market and housing, and reciprocity.

Drs. Leopold James,

Founder and president of the St. Martin Nation Building Foundation and the Association L’Esprit de Concordia

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