Reader’s Opinion: Back to principles

POSTED: 11/21/12 1:10 PM

As the famous Youth Waves band song says “Who’s the Leader, Leader, leader”. Right now all our leaders in government are very quiet with regard to the issues affecting the people. Imagine our honourable governor quiet….Our prime minister quiet…Our parliamentarians quiet…the Ombudsman quiet….and the Corporate Governance Board disrespected for enforcing the law to protect our people.  As a community activist, I would like to know where the leaders of this country stand with regard to our good Corporate Governance rules on these drastic issues and the ad hoc planning of these current unrealistic mega projects that are going to burden the already suffering tax payers of this country for the next 10 years.  I have a lot of respect for our honourable governor, prime minister, parliamentarians, and Ombudsman, but they have surprised me with their quietness on these issues that are burdening our people.

I am starting to wonder if our leaders are just going with the flow by disregarding their credibility and ethics by not enforcing the rules and procedures of this country.   Where is the transparency and in what manner are the   issues being brought closer to the people? This is the first time that I am seeing such a laissez faire approach from our leaders in government on these pressing issues.  It is time that our honourable prime minister, who is the leader of this government address these issues that are making us look bad to the outside world. We need to set a better example and show better leadership to take St. Maarten to the next level.  We have got to start holding our government officials accountable and responsible for these issues.  Can you imagine that we have the Social Economic Council (SER) posing a number of questions to our prime minister about the illegal filling activities in the Great Salt Pond. We cannot allow the “nobody knows” attitude towards the drag strip and cricket field to go on for another month. We need one of our leaders in government to step up and institute an inquiry to find out who is responsible and liable for this project. I am happy to see the UP Party Faction in Parliament requesting an investigation into the filling of the Great Salt Pond. The people have a right to know who is paying for this project and why the proper procedures, transparency and rules were not followed.  The people would like to know why a “landsbesluit” was not made up for this project.  Here you have two good projects for the island, which I support, which were wrongly executed and put in the wrong location without the proper studies and permits and none of our leaders of this country have come out publicly and put in an inquiry to see who is responsible and should be held accountable for these projects. Neither did I hear anything from our MP who says that the “campaign is on” about all of these projects which are not following the law and the right procedures in Government. We have a Council of Ministers now in which each of them is running his/her own Country by not following the right procedures.

Mr. Editor, another unrealistic project is the 100 million dollars “Justice Park”.  I find this to be one of the most “simply amazing” projects that I have seen presented by the minister of justice to parliament.  Imagine that you have a minister who already signed a letter of intent with the property owners without having the proper financing in placed to pay for this mega unrealistic project.  Who is going to pay for this project over the years?  Why wasn’t there any bidding on this mega project?  I was even more amazed by the minister’s financing scheme and Math 101 for increasing the fee of the residence permits which would pay for this mega project. This financing scheme of the minister based on an average of residence permits would fall way short for such a magnitude of a project.  I would like to know where  our leaders of good corporate governance are and what about  the rules and regulations of government on this unrealistic project that is going to burden the tax payers over the years.

Then, there is the minister of infrastructure “tunnel vision” with no light at the end of the tunnel for St. Maarten road network plan. He stated that this is his own idea and landmark so that he can be remembered in for doing something for the people of St. Maarten.  This is another mega project that has no proper financing or studies in place for the execution of this unrealistic project.  Where are the leaders of good corporate governance to enforce the rules and regulations as regards burdening the tax payers with other tunnel vision projects.  The minister of infrastructure does not follow any bidding process according to the good rules of corporate governance. Where are our leaders in government to enforce the law?

Then, there is our very own hospital saga, in which government is holding back on licenses for other Health Care Centres and their expansion plans to improve health care for the people of St. Maarten.  Too many games are being played in the health care sector which is not in the best interest of the people.

Next, we have the firing of our own local people on the boards and other victimisation of contractors and businesses that is not politically affiliated to the current National Alliance coalition government.  Where are the leaders in government and laws to protect our local people?

And last but not least, there is MP Laveist’s situation and Minister Duncan’s conflict of interest court case with the brothel that still needs to be addressed by our honourable governor, prime minister and the House of Parliament.

I can go on and on about projects such as the Emilio Wilson 17 million dollar saga and other projects with no landsbesluit procedures and which are not within the law and which are going to burden our people for the next 10 years.  The year-end audit of this government should be very interesting with an unbalanced budget at the expense of the tax payers. Government is creating all kinds of schemes to balance the 2013 budget.  They are not being transparent with the people with regard to the leases and mega loans through the Central Bank to pay for these unrealistic mega projects at the expense of the tax payers.

Our leaders (honourable prime minister, governor, parliamentarians and Ombudsman) need to take a stand and hold our government officials accountable and responsible for these unrealistic mega projects and procedures within government. I find our leaders to be very quiet on these current issues. We need to get back to the principles, rules and good Corporate Governance of this country. It is all about protecting the future generations of St. Maarten. We need to set our priorities straight.

Maurice Lake

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