St. Maarten is unique in that, as a small country, we have very little in common with the rest of the world in terms of our Government Structure and Democracy. What we have at present can easily be considered a Separate Colonial Status with no dissolution.
We have remained for 300 years under the laws and control of The Netherlands despite our efforts to have autonomy.
Therefore, consider this: whenever the Governor as a function makes decisions about the political landscape, it reflects the interest of his boss, The Netherlands primarily. The Governor a non-elected official, as a role, decides who passes or fails the screening process to become Minister based on laws that not even exist in Holland. His action is understandable, of course, because if you work for me, you must do my bidding. The truth is that any real discussion of changes such as Electoral Reform, which the United People’s Party believes is critical to full democracy and stabilization of St. Maarten, must consider changing the present role of the Governor as a Function.
The purpose of the Governor as a function must be one that acknowledges the power of the people and must show greater respect for the electorate. When swearing-in Ministers, duly appointed by the elected members of Parliament, the oath of office must include a pledge of allegiance to the People of this Country whose power must remain forefront if we are to be a genuinely democratic society, not just a commitment to The King.
Let’s look at the structure of an Attorney General and our Judicial System in General. An Attorney General in this Colonial structure is more powerful than the Minister of Justice, the government and the Parliament together. The Kingdom laws in articles 12 and 13 of the Kingdom law on Public Prosecutors, prohibit us to give this anti-democratic figure any specific direct instructions. With the ridiculous consequence, that the Minister who is supposed to be his political boss and the only one responsible for him in Parliament, is what this matter is concerned, a puppet with no power over his subordinate. Wemust make sure true representation of the people includes the fair execution of Justice to the benefit of the people. All power in a real democracy must be under the control of the people. However, with our change of status, we have been given a shared Prosecutor General. Calling the function Prosecutor General and not Attorney General is deceptive. In a healthy democracy, the Government of the Country appoints its own Attorney General. St. Maarten’s Prosecutor General was appointed by Holland to work in St. Maarten, Curacao an the BESS islands. He has 3 bosses simultaneously. This system does not exist anywhere else in the world.
Meanwhile The Netherlands and even Aruba each do have their own Prosecutor General who answers to their own Minister of Justice, who in turn is accountable in Parliament.
Their Minister of Justice answers to their Parliament. Their Prosecutor General is accountable to the Minister of Justice. Their Parliament has a total say in ensuring the delivery of Justice for the people who elected them into office. Since they appoint the Prosecutor General and can instruct him generally and specifically in all matters through their Minister of Justice.That is real democracy. This setup of a shared Prosecutor General who has to listen to 3 bosses simultaneously is a slap in the face of our people who deserve real democracy without an untouchable figure above our democratic institutions. Sint Maarten has its own problems and has the right, just like Holland an Aruba to have their own Prosecutor general, just as was the case with the Netherlands Antilles and every other country with democratic structures.
If today we as a Country believe the present Prosecutor General as a function, is abusing his or her power we cannot make him accountable or get rid of him, because we have no say and cannot intervene.
This uncontrolled power can be used as a political mechanism to weaken someone politically because they don’t align with your ideology. On top of that we have a system of screening that has no clearly defined rules. It is more than reasonable to think that the office of the Prosecutor General can shape the political landscape of St. Maarten and Curacao to suit their agenda or the one of the Netherlands. By bringing cases against a selected few, they keep us quiet and afraid. All this could happen to weaken our Country’s leadership and make us subjects to our master’s will.
Any other country in the world would have been busy working to restore economic prosperity to their people through investments in improved infrastructure, better housing for citizens, refined and an adequately defined health care system for its people. The Government would have been able to use the funding it received to invest in improved education and rebuilding schools for our children, provide a better life for our Seniors and build waste management facilities for better environmental protection of our Country. Why are there not Kingdom Laws for fighting poverty, for education, for health care etc.?
The answer is simple, the one who controls justice and finance, controls the country. They are the best horses in the stable. The Dutch understand this game after 300 years much better than their colonies.
With the Dutch imposing the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT, we have also been side-lined in the decision-making process where our finances are concerned. We pay taxes but do not decide on our investments and needs. As a Country, we cannot borrow Internationally to develop. Whenever there is a disaster, and we have a need, our only source is Holland, who continually uses our needs as an opportunity to force us to give up more control before they assist us. It is like having a neighbour with a nice car, and his house is on fire, so you go to him while his house is burning and say, I will out your fire, but first I need your car.
St. Maarten, the house is on fire, and our infrastructure continues to deteriorate. Our people continue to live without roofs over their heads two and a half years after the worst hurricane in their lives. In 2019 we must still beg on our knees.
Our people have lost their jobs, not enough hotels, the airport is still not repaired and we continue to lose cruise ships to neighbouring islands for the first time in our Country’s history.
And while the house burns our Dutch counterparts are ignoring the fire and saying if you want help then give up your rights to self-determination.
We know the change of St. Maarten’s Constitutional Status, the so-called 10-10-10 was poorly negotiate. Those who settledwere misled or accepted these terms even though it placed the power to decide St. Maarten’s destiny where it really matters, in the hands of others, in this case, The Netherlands.
Maybe they were just given a stack of Documents in the Dutch language, which they did not fully comprehend and with a bag of money on the table, were forced to sign.
Remember, Dutch is not our mother tongue. If we continue to conduct negotiations on behalf of our people in Dutch, we will continue to accept being subjects to our masters will under the illusion of having more autonomy.
The Netherlands finance the Governor as a function. The Dutch have a saying (wie betaalt, beslist) he who pays decides. We must find a way to limit the power of this non-elected colonial figure.
Our finance minister has to balance a budget before we as a country can execute improvement projects each year. Yet at the end of 2017, the gross national debt of the Netherlands was 56.7% of the Country’s GDP. That figure adds up all of the debt that the National Government owed.
We cannot continue to be second class citizens in our own Country. I am Grisha Heyliger-Martin, the number four candidate on the United People’s Party slate. I am ready to stand up for my Country because real democracy comes when citizens are not afraid to stand up for their rights.
TIME FOR A REAL CHANGE!!
Grisha Marten – Heyliger
Izland BipBip & 721news.com