Opinion: Save Sweet St. Martin

POSTED: 02/5/14 11:51 AM

Good morning to all my lovely Facebook family and friends. Blessed day to all.
Based on a post I read concerning the filling in of yet more of the Simpson Bay Lagoon, I would like to have my little say.

I don’t know if we St. Maarteners, for some reason, are losing our memory, but somehow it is still very fresh in my mind when there was that enormous protest years ago, when some folks wanted to fill in more of the Lagoon.

Many people came out and strongly protested in large groups. They even blocked the traffic, etc., etc.

Where are those many outspoken people from way back then today? It is the same Lagoon being filled in!?

The ecosystem of the Lagoon is slowly, or better said, rapidly being disturbed. What are we doing about that?? Sitting back and allowing all this to happen??

That the airport needed expansion for safety reasons, I can understand, but do we really need more marinas or houses, businesses or whatever the filling in is for? Why was the Causeway built then??

We are claiming more and more land from the Lagoon, but for what?? In my humble opinion, isn’t enough enough??

More land, more houses, more businesses, more cars, more yachts in the Lagoon, smaller Lagoon.

I believe we are attempting to create a closed circle right around the entire island of cars, cars and more cars.

I am already reading many complaints from the cruise ship tourists, who go on island tours and have to sit for hours in the buses, not moving due to the many traffic jams.

Are we building our self ego by being able to brag how many cruise ships we can handle in one day? Six, seven, eight??

Is our island equipped for, God forbid, even a minor incident, such as that ship which had to return to its home port because of so many ill passengers on board?

Just suppose they had remained silent and had still come, or the outbreak had taken place while they were berthed here?

Do we have enough emergency rooms, staff and equipment to handle over 200 sick people at one time??

Are we taking the comforts of the passengers into consideration?

We might be on top as tourist destination now, but for how much longer?

In my humble opinion, with so many cruise ships in the harbor at one time, the hotel tourists in their rental cars during this high season period, St. Maarten is doing herself harm.

St. Maarten, wake up! We were built back in the ’70s in the tourist industry on QUALITY, not QUANTITY.

Millionaires came to our little island and invested in it, buying real estate, building their vacation homes here, spending cash, not on credit cards!!

We were friends with some of those millionaires who preferred the coziness of the little hotels and guesthouses, the tranquility of the island. Now it has become a mass industry. Those millionaires have moved on to other quieter islands.

And who are we creating employment for, yes for whom? As far as I know, most people being employed at the large hotels today are all foreigners with a few indigenous St. Maarteners here and there. Do we need all this? More strain on our already overburdened health coverage and pension funds, for these people receive minimum wages, so the percentage that goes into the health coffers and pension funds are minimum.

We were known as that quaint little gem in the Caribbean called “The Friendly Island”, not angry tourists who want the most out of their hard earned savings, road rage, accidents, and crime.

Buses that don’t adhere to rules of stopping at the bus stops. They stay on the road not to lose their spot in the line, thereby causing unnecessary traffic jams.

St. Maarten, let us wake up and get back to basics. We don’t need all this congestion on 16 square miles.

As I remember mentioning once before, not meaning to insult anyone, but we don’t even have that pure white salt anymore which was graded among the best, we used to reap in our Great Salt Pond to make a living. Farming and fishery are on a downhill trend.

Do we have any resources, other than Tourism?

The day Tourism stops, the rich will move out, for they have already secured their piece of the cake elsewhere, in case of a setback on the island. It’s we, the ordinary man, who will be left behind with the sh*t.

People, wake up and save our once beautiful Sweet St. Martin Land.

 

Patricia Williams-Carty

Retired Teacher

 

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