Opinion by Michael J. Ferrier: Embrace each other

POSTED: 09/13/14 11:41 PM

‎Dear Mr. Editor,

If we truly want to make St. Maarten a better place for our children and grandchildren, letters to the Herald’s Editor like the one in Sept 11th’s edition under the caption “They have a right to” should become a thing of the past and so should graffiti like that on the government building wall yesterday. Thankfully this was removed by those in charge of government facilities.

The non-indigenous born-to-be-here St. Maarteners (including me) are here to stay. Let’s all get along. Many of us came here as young children and instead of hiding behind excuse after excuse for failure, as many do today, we grabbed opportunities that we were presented with, worked our “tails” off and certainly made the best lemonade out of any lemons life threw at us.

I am proud to be one of “the locals that ran Mullet Bay when it was the flagship of the Caribbean”, together with greats like Lou Peters, Keith Franca, Vernon Jacobs, Zephanie and Pedro Fleming, Olga Williams, Bobby Bouwer, the late Robert James, Clarice and Vilma Hodge, James Richardson, the late James (Fats) Hughes, Alphonso Danny David, Pedro Koeiman, the late Louis Wescot, Minder Rismay, Delphine David, the late Joe Brooks and many, many others. That was a fabulous mixture of Born-Here and Born-to-be-Here St. Maarteners, who never questioned “where we were from”. Some did very well, most did quite well, some did satisfactorily and some did not do so well for a variety of reasons. As St. Maarten started to become a player on the world stage, many of the indigenous families sold their land, their houses, their properties to some of the same Indians and Guyanese of which this “concerned citizen”, (who not-so-bravely asks for his/her name to be withheld) now says “They don’t have a right.”

If we are to become a great little country, we had better learn to respect, tolerate and embrace each other. None of us must ever accept to be treated like a second-class citizen, especially here in our own country, but we should certainly stop blaming all others for what may be our own shortcomings. And let us make a concerted effort to expose those unscrupulous ones amongst us that take advantage of those that are most vulnerable. Keeping employees on repeated short-term contracts and paying them the minimum wage is abuse, plain and simple. Everyone has the right…… to a decent life, to a roof over their head, to three square meals a day and to be respected.

 

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