Opinion: Ludicrous

POSTED: 09/5/11 12:49 PM

Social activist Eldridge van Putten called us on Friday saying that he thought Justice Minister Roland Duncan ought to be prosecuted for, simply put “illegally accepting funds for a Brooks Tower Accord permit from applicants who arrived on the island after 2005.”
We told Mr. van Putten that he is fully entitled to his opinion, but that we did not see any basis for a serious article in our news section. We invited him to write a letter to the editor if he wished to do so, and we politely declined to join the hunt for our Justice Minister.
Because what really happened? Magali Jacoba, the last Justice Minister of the Netherlands Antilles, painted a rosy picture of the BTA-procedure in October 2010. Everything went well, there were only a handful of application to be processed, and everybody was happy. It had been, if we had to believe Jacoba, a pleasant walk in the park.
But Duncan soon found out that he had inherited a mess from Jacoba. Then the whole process got hit by a criminal investigation, and now finally, a BTA-committee has sorted out the chaos.
We’re not shy to criticize our politicians, but we’re also not shy to say that Duncan’s BTA-committee did a fine job.
Not that the results were anything to be enthusiast about: hundreds of applicants turned out to have registered with bogus-employers, and they will obviously not get a permit until they present documentation from their real employer – if they have one.
The bogus-employers are small offices – one is located on Illidge Road, and one on the Pondfill that we are aware off – that have successfully made applicants believe that they were able to fix their problems as long as they were willing to pay the right fee.
To understand how this process works, one ought to step into the mind of the illegal worker from places like Haiti and the Dominican Republic. If they have to leave the island, they go back to nothing – so they will do anything they are able to think off to stay in St. Maarten. This is where they make at least a bit of a living, and this is where they want to be. Who’s to blame these people?
Equally understandable is the government’s drive to get a grip on illegal immigration. That this is a fata morgana many governments the world over have been chasing in vain for decades does not stop the government from at least giving it a shot. Hence, the Brooks Tower Accord.
Is it Duncan’s fault that hordes of undocumented workers made a run on the offices of these bogus-employers? We don’t think so.
We think that these bogus-employers have been taking advantage of people who find themselves in a very vulnerable position. They have lined their pockets with money they ought to pay back, because they delivered a phony service by making false promises. Their bogus-employer guarantee is worthless, as they well knew; they will also have to answer for these fraudulent activities in court – at least, we would like to see that happen.
In this case, Justice Minister Duncan is right on the ball, and the idea that he ought to be prosecuted is nothing short of ludicrous.

Did you like this? Share it:
Opinion: Ludicrous by

Comments are closed.