A call to action for 2022!

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Knowledge is power, gives confidence and peace of mind.
Knowledge straightens the spine, lifts up the chin and empowers ones’ steps.
Knowledge, formally acquired through the educational system, or informally learned through modern technology, is not a luxury but a must in today’s world.

In retirement for three years I reflected on forty-five years of engagement with society as a teacher, lawyer, TV host, the first Ombudsman of Sint Maarten, mentor, motivator and more, and feel compelled to issue a CALL TO ACTION for 2022. First to all who aspire to assume a leading role in public office, and secondly to young entrepreneurs and the community of Sint Maarten at large. A call to be curious and seek KNOWLEDGE to empower oneself.

Congratulating our Government and Parliament with mixed feelings for being the longest coalition in place since Sint Maarten acquired an autonomous status within the Dutch Kingdom, I call upon all political parties intending to contest the next Parliamentary elections, to recruit prospective candidates from now. These candidates and any person desirous to hold a public function should be trained and prepared to assume the job ahead of time. With the speed that the world is moving and changing, we can no longer afford to have persons learning on the job, while leading the country. Today’s leaders are required to be equipped with the knowledge to organize, legislate and manage the country. As such I will avail myself to any group of persons seriously willing to learn more about matters of good governance, the Kingdom Charter and the Constitution of Sint Maarten. I am most certain that there are many other persons available too.

The past years were challenging, but yet a blessing in disguise as they over-exposed the fragility of our community, the importance of loyalty to ones’ job and to the employees, while individual creativity encouraged entrepreneurships. The next important step for our new entrepreneurs is however, getting equipped to deliver quality service and goods. A good idea alone does not guarantee business success. Though a formal certificate might not be required, proper knowledge of the products and or services offered is a must. There is no reason to settle for mediocracy, while excellence is available at the tip of your finger via the internet.

Applauding the many community efforts offering free courses to empower youngsters and the community as a whole, my experience in building in particular the Ombudsman Institute, taught me that you have to take the information directly into the communities. Advertising alone in newspapers, on billboards, social media and flyers often does not reach those we want to empower the most. Apart from churches and community organizations, it practically requires a door-to-door approach if we really want to make the difference envisioned, and reach those that need to be empowered and equipped.

And last but certainly not least, a shout goes out to my fellow retirees, to make an effort staying up to date with the digital world. We do not want to be living dinosaurs. And so my CALL TO ACTION to the people of Sint Maarten is to be curious, collectively and individually, making KNOWLEDGE the target for 2022 and beyond.

Dr. R.J.A. (Nilda) Arduin