Panel Discussion Hailed as A Huge Success

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Advice on the way Moving forward as a country

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The panel discussion, which was held by the United St. Maarten Party (USP) last Thursday, June 30, was hailed as an enormous success.

The panel included Political Activist James Finies from Bonaire, former leader of the Peoples Labor Party (PLP) and Island Councilman Clyde van Putten, The Honorable Barbados Ambassador David Commisiong, who served as a representative of the Prime Minister of Barbados, Former Justice Minister of the Netherlands Antilles Rutsel Martha, and leader of the USP, former Minister of Health, Social Development and Labor Pamela Gordon-Carty.

The new leadership of the USP in their quest for quality life improvement for the people of Country St. Maarten, is seeking to stimulate ties with the wider Caribbean, for several sustainable projects, which will place St. Maarten in a better position.

The political party has established different committees that will deal with different weaknesses and focal points of Country Sint Maarten. Important points that the USP feel are important to focus on, the leader said. She pointed out that if a Country wishes to experience changes, first there must be legislating. “We not only must be able to identify the weaknesses in the areas of Country St. Maarten, but we also have to be able to properly amend designated legislation that deals with the issue. The talking phase has passed,” said Gordon-Carty.

“If you are even thinking independence, we all know that we cannot talk independence from one day to the other since independence is a process that has to be guided. Hence, the reason for contacting other leaders within the Caribbean that have the experience of dealing with colonizers, that can provide detailed information as to their modus operandi, tricks that were used in the past that are still being used nowadays, and how we as a young country need to walk that path in preparation to one day become sovereign and independent,” stated Gordon-Carty.

For this reason, the USP brought together political stalwarts from the Caribbean Region to discuss the way forward, since some have gone through the process of handling with the Motherland, which doesn’t differ much between territories.

“The Caribbean leaders were very open to the invitation to participate in the discussion and expressed their willingness to assist not only the Country of St. Maarten but all other young countries that are seeking to one day stand on their own two feet,” she said.

Gordon-Carty is of the opinion that a country’s main goals should be that the people’s interest is accurately represented and considered during negotiations; when policies are formulated and when execution of laws is taking place. People treated with dignity feel proud to be a citizen of said Country.
“The more information we gather now, the better all of us can be prepared to walk the path together. COHO – as presented – is not the best option,” and proposed that her Financial Recovery Plan for the CAS countries be discussed on a regional level, tapping into the expertise of regional leaders.

“The COHO is failing to really serve the purpose of providing quality un-biased assistance. It’s contradicting good corporate governance basic laws by one self-entity being the designer, implementer, executioner and the one to supervise as well. The COHO is being portrayed as ‘the life savior’ of the countries Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten, but it’s not.” In referring to articles 4.1a and 4.1b, she mentioned that it says that Holland will give direction regarding projects and programs and will also execute and supervise said projects.

“These are basic infractions against good corporate governance and one can see that there is something wrong with this document,” Gordon-Carty observed. The Netherlands says that corruption comes from non-corporate governance being upheld. That being the case, then it is impossible to provide a document to the countries where there is no good corporate governance.

“It is not correct for one organization to formulate the projects and execute and supervise it. This is incorrect,” she concludes.

The leader of the USP pointed out that even though the Barbados Prime Minister could not attend the panel discussions, Ambassador Commisiong gave a very eloquent description of the function of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and promised to be of guidance to any new country that wants to become an independent nation.

Gordon-Carty applauded the input of van Putten, whom she described as “very knowledgeable” in the affairs of the Dutch Kingdom, and deemed his explanation an eye opener, which came in a timely manner while negotiations are taking place with the Motherland.

“The reason I chose this diverse panel is because of the knowledge and the different steps that the country will have to experience on the road to independence. There is much to prepare which legislation is one of them, education of our children to assume all levels within our society and business sector, the diversification of the economy that will have to counterpart with other countries within the region, medical expertise exchange and the rise of different industries,” which Gordon-Carty has laid out in her Financial Economic Recovery Plan book part 1.

Gordon-Carty noted that St. Maarten has no direction and is not tackling the key issues that directly impact this country’s people. While Councilman van Putten eloquently highlighted the problems of the “Dutch interference” in St. Eustatius, the leader agreed that she can also see similarities between certain things that are done by the Dutch government on St. Maarten in a strategic way.
Activist Finies, in his contribution, explained the deceit of the Dutch politicians since they are known to “speak with both sides of their mouths. They come with one set of plans, but in the end, they take over all the important positions in the country. They portray a different picture while now the Dutch has taken over the entire country of Bonaire and the Indigenous people are not treated fairly.”

He continued, “The Modus Operandi of the Dutch politicans may differ in the beginning based on the resistance received at the beginning, but the result is for them to take over the island and place the local population in the lowest part of the financial spectrum all under the disguise of ‘Assistance’ so their own people can be placed in leading positions. The other way is that they set-up organizations with the intention to supervise developments on the country, where execution is limited to none.”

Martha, an Internationally well-known scholar, and highly educated and respected individual, in Curaçao and Holland, also shared his views on the COHO on a more technical and legal basis. He observed that COHO is not serving the purpose it should be by financially improving the countries involved. He referred to the fact that there is not sufficient financial data, research, or analysis to prove that the COHO, as presented, will serve its stated purpose. He also quoted the Dutch making a similar statement.

Gordon-Carty concluded by saying that this is not the last panel discussion that will be held to inform the people.