Today’s Opinion: Bringing down the locals

POSTED: 05/3/11 11:54 AM

We have heard the accusation before, and Fabian Badejo repeated it last week on this page: Today is out to bring down local St. Maarteners. That is a serious allegation and if it were true it would be a blemish on our reputation.

So how do we go about our business making a daily newspaper? We call a spade a spade and we take our role as watchdog of our democracy very serious.

When we published a series of articles in December that ultimately led to the downfall of Public Health Minister Maria Buncamper-Molanus we received support from all corners. Subsequently, at least one member of the current government inquired who the next victim was going to be.

That remark suggests that this newspaper is in the business of witch hunting. Something like: one down, six to go. But that is not how journalism works; at least that is not how it should function.

At Today, we do not think in terms of victims. We think in terms of good governance. Given the right information we will expose wrongdoing by the government and by civil servants.

When there is an investigation underway, like the embezzlement case at the tourist bureau, we will report about it. Mostly, we have to stick to the information made available to us by law enforcement, but every now and then we manage to get ahead of the game (like in the Buncamper-Molanus scandal) and under those circumstances we take our own responsibility.

It stands to reason that, if any scandal breaks in our community, that local St. Maarteners are involved in it. But does reporting about such scandals amount to a concerted effort to bring down locals? We don’t think so.

Corruption and self-enrichment are not unique to St. Maarten. Let’s not forget that the Netherlands has had its own scandals that went straight up to the royal family last century. As a local newspaper, we promote honesty and fairness. We make a stand for human rights, for the protection of the environment, and for a better government.

If we write anything that is not on the mark – or plain wrong – we will correct it. And for readers who dislike our opinions, the letters to the editor page is wide open, provided that the writer signs his letter with his own name.

Of course we will always be critical of the government. That criticism is never based on any political affiliation, but on the merits of each individual situation. We understand as well as the next guy that it is not plain sailing for our government, but where we expect more initiative, or better solutions, we will always speak out. Not to bring people down, but to contribute to the debate, and to ultimately arrive at decisions that benefit the people of our island.

 

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Comments (1)

 

  1. Shooz says:

    Everything a Dutch man tells you, you take as a fact. I’m waiting to see the day that you will actually be critical of the whore mongering and coke snorting Dutch alcoholics that are giving you their “expert opinion”. I don’t hide. You have my name and e-mail.