Opinion: Vacation

POSTED: 08/10/11 5:56 PM

What do you do as a political leader when, say, there is a financial crisis or when the capital of your country is on fire? It depends, the Associated Press learned. The French president Sarkozy for instance, is on vacation and he is not coming back because the euro is under fire.
If I cut my vacation short, France’s little general surmised, people would panic. So he stays on some beach with his Carla. Ireland is in serious trouble but the complete cabinet is on vacation. Brussels is deserted because the European Union is in full summer mode.
Analysts are not happy with the vacationing leaders. Author David Marsh, who wrote several books about the euro, told AP that the politicians are sending “a terrible signal” to the markets by going on vacation while the euro is in trouble. Other analysts assert that the markets have become more nervous because of the absent leaders.
A spokesman for the American energy consultant Cameron Hanover was rather blunt about the issue: “August is a holy vacation month for Europeans. But the stubbornness of European leaders to stick to this tradition this year is damaging the global economy.”
There are of course spin doctors available to explain why all this does not matter. They defend their bosses by saying that mobile phones and the internet enable them to be anywhere and still act or react when it becomes necessary. Laptops and cell phones also work on the beach or at the deck of a swimming pool, they argue. If this were so efficient, some leaders might be tempted to think that there is no point ending their vacation ever: the internet and the cell phone cover their behinds at all times.
A spokesman for Jose Manuel Barrosso, the president of the European Commission confirmed that her boss is on vacation, but that he is always available and that he is “in constant contact with other European prominent.
We wonder what Mrs. Barosso thinks of such a vacation. Some spouses already balk at the idea of seeing a blackberry at the dinner table outside the vacation period. They’d probably go ballistic when those same mobile devices accompanied their husbies during a romantic trek through the mountains, or during a relaxed afternoon at the beach.
There is one exception to the vacation rule and that is the British Prime Minister David Cameron. He left the hills of Toscane to return home early. But, Associated Press pointed out, that had nothing to do with the euro crisis. Cameron returned home because London, and by now other cities as well, are marred by violent riots, the worst of the past 25 years.
In St. Maarten we have no such worries, because the country is always in crisis. The only time when local crises seem to subside is when our politicians are on vacation. But they’re all back now, and they’ll make sure you know it.

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