Opinion: Dying in the streets

POSTED: 09/14/11 12:02 PM

Ho, ho, stop the press. Young people are dying in the streets every day. No we’re not talking about Darfur, Afghanistan or Libya; we’re talking about St. Maarten.
The statement is from United People’s party-leader Romain Laville, made during the closure of the parliamentary year. We rushed outside yesterday, just to make sure, but we were rather disappointed. We did not see a single young citizen in the street in a condition that could be described as dying.
Well, we’re not disappointed for the sake of these young people, obviously, but we’re disappointed in the statement. Louie Laveist’s Who is fooling Who came to mind, so we read the quote again: “Young people are dying in the streets every single day.”
That’s not the whole sentence, but we’re not taking anything out of context here. The rest of the statement is about young people who “fall victim to our prison system,” an institution that has become, in Laville’s opinion, “a plantation for the young black men of this island.”
Now that we have established that there are no young people dying in the street – quite a relief, actually – we’d like to dive into this statement about youngsters who are falling victim to the prison system.
That so? We think our esteemed MP is turning things on their head. Anyone who wants to earn the right to the hospitality offered by Rudsel Ricardo in Pointe Blanche has to break the law first. Therefore, we’re not talking victims here, we’re talking criminals.
The sociology of crime is without any doubt a very interesting field. Prison is no pleasure cruise, and Pointe Blanche leaves a lot of room for improvement. But the bottom line remains that victims usually are outside the prison, not inside.
Laville’s passion to make St. Maarten a better place is palpable, in spite of his verbal faux pas. At times he comes across as a caged animal ready to pounce on anything and everything that needs improvement. That’s the kind of fire our parliament needs but so far Laville has not been able to really light the fire.
Give him time. We now hear faction leaders suddenly say that there is a need for action, and Laville agrees.
So far, that’s only talk of course, exactly what MPs now say they don’t want anymore. So we challenge them, each and everyone: take action. It is not prohibited for a parliamentarian to undertake extra-parliamentary action. So fill those potholes, tackle the real issues, take off those suits and get to work. People will love it.
And remember for the new parliamentary year: intention + action = result. Since results don’t lie, intentions have nowhere to hide. So even if politicians take actions but they come up with the wrong results, everybody will know what the real intention was.

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