Opinion: Leading by example

POSTED: 01/30/12 1:53 PM

Criticism is in our blood so to speak but every now and then we come across something that stands out in a positive way. We have a Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor who truly leads by example. We’re not immediately claiming he is perfect – nobody is, really – but Cornelius de Weever has shown on more than one occasion what he is made off. He is not quick to run to a microphone, or to make a public splash about a situation that needs an urgent solution. He prefers to work behind the scenes and to get things done.
But de Weever is also a gentleman if we ever saw one, a man without pretense, and someone who doesn’t think twice when action is required.
When pop-diva Dionne Warwick visited St. Maarten at the request of the Peridot Foundation to speak about domestic violence at the Belair Community Center last year, de Weever was in the audience. Even better: when the organization asked volunteers to help clean the stage for a dance act, the minister jumped to his feet and was the first to lend a hand.
This weekend de Weever was on the scene when environmental organizations organized a cleanup at Snoopy Island in the Simpson Bay lagoon on the occasion of World Wetlands Day 2012. The Minister did not arrive for a pretty picture in the papers: he took part in the real cleanup.
One would expect that the minister that has the environment in his portfolio – Vice Prime Minister Theo Heyliger – would show some interest in such an activity but as far as we have been able to establish he was nowhere to be seen on Saturday – at least not in the vicinity of Snoopy Island.
So how could our ministers show the population that they really care? De Weever is setting a nice example, that’s for sure. We imagine a role for our Vice PM fixing potholes on his free Saturday, and one for our Justice Minister Roland Duncan fixing up that darn place in Cay Hill to create space for juvenile delinquents. We picture Prime Minister Wescot-Williams moving old furniture into the (not so) new government administration building, Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto as a volunteer tax inspector, and education, sports and culture Minister Rhoda Arrindell as a volunteer patching up the Raoul Illidge sports complex.
Did we forget anyone? Ah, yes, Tourism and Economic Affairs Minister Franklin Meyers. He could have, or maybe should have, joined his colleague De Weever on Saturday on Snoopy Island. After all, the lagoon is part of our tourism product and a cleaner environment will make tourists appreciate St. Maarten more than they already do (or as some would mutter, as they once did). But this is the reality: Meyers was not there, and we don’t see the other ministers follow De Weever’s example – leading by example is not everybody’s forte. Prove us wrong on this point, and we’ll be happy to report about it.

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