Opinion: Proud young country

POSTED: 10/12/12 1:26 PM

As a proud young country we should be celebrating constitution day. Right?

The first time, back in 2011, the day was described as a funeral by former Minister Franklin Meyers. This time, no such heavy words came out of anybody’s mouth, so in itself that could be considered an improvement.

Still, we have the feeling that constitution day does not gel, to use a popular expression. It does not gel with the population and it does not gel with those who ought to convince that population that constitution matters either.

Of course, our prime minister was at all those occasions where she was supposed to be and the Governor duly made his appearance here and there as well.

What intrigued us is that the interest of parliamentarians to make their appearances was not at the one hundred percent level. Of course, we are not referring to those with heartbreaking reasons (like Vice PM William Marlin), but to all those others who were nowhere to be seen during the ecumenical church service, at the parliament meeting and at the cultural celebration on Clem Labega Square on Wednesday evening.

One would expect, certainly on an occasion like this more than “absent with notice.” That’s just not good enough! Where are the MPs whom once stood up in parliament holding up the constitution as if it were the Holy Grail? On a beach somewhere?

And then, of course there is an even more serious point: constitution day is not a national holiday. Oh, it has been talked about – that’s something politicians are really good at. But based on results: nobody has done anything.

Even in Curacao – not exactly the world’s capital of democracy – has managed to make constitution day an official holiday. The pencil pushers in the government have had two years to make this happen. Actually, they’ve had twelve years to think about it, and from the moment the date was really set, they could have made this an issue. Two to twelve years! And no result – it almost sound like one of those cricket-matches.

Last year William Marlin brought it up. This year we hear Silveria Jacobs talk about it. But we have not caught anyone doing something to make it happen.

That is why the people of St. Maarten don’t give a rat’s behind about constitution day: they do not believe that our politicians are for real. They do not lead by example and they do not stand together on a day like this. So why would the common man bother about something that apparently does not even interest the most die-hard supporters of the constitution?

We would be pleasantly surprised if legislation to make constitution day a national holiday was submitted to parliament soon. But  nobody should be surprised that our pencil pushers will first push it over the holiday, then over the summer, and then towards 10-10-2013, when another politician will wake up and wonder why constitution day is not a national holiday.

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