In September 2017 Hurricane Irma brought destruction to our beautiful island. It reaped havoc on our countries infrastructure, economy , educational system, working class, people it self and over all, it displaced the current direction of our sitting government.
Despite the destruction that came with Irma, she left us with a few great opportunities that many still fail to see. Irma brought us a chance to unite, a chance to share our thoughts and visions , a chance to begin again and this time to do it right based on what she has taught us encountering the brief experience of her presence.
I promised myself that I won’t go into the blame game or try to outline what most of us already know has not been done for recovery efforts for our country, nor would I elaborate about the way our government went about things before they realized that we are faced with a situation that bypasses their personal agendas by miles.
Instead over the next few editions of Cultural Xpression Newsmagazine I will try to shine some hope, some light and some direction on what I think we as the people should start to direct our energy toward if we want to truly see changes in our country. This month Nov 2017, I’ll like to take us back just a bit to when our country had its most prominent leader, Mr Claude Wathey.
In order to understand where we are going we first have to understand where we come from or what foundation our country was built upon from the very start.
Claude Wathey, The name to this this still rings a bell in the ears of every elder today over the age of 50 and will forever be a name that will symbolized the pillars of what St Maarten was truly set out to be. Mr Wathey was a great man, though he also had his controversies surrounding him, he never failed to let the country down.
Claude Wathey (full name Albert Claudius Wathey; 1926 – January 1998), was a prominent politician of the Democratic Party from the island of Sint Maarten.
He was knighted by the Dutch Crown for his political longevity.
Wathey championed political independence for the island in 1989, but was later convicted on charges of perjury; however, many on Sint Maarten felt the trial was nothing more than a witch hunt conducted by his rivals and adversaries in Curaçao and the Netherlands in order to break his monopoly on political power in Sint Maarten and to destroy his credibility. Despite this, he remains a popular figure, even after his death.
The Wathey family is an old Caribbean family of Belgian origin, from the city of Tongeren. With the proclamation of the Islands Regulation of the Netherlands Antilles in 1951, the Dutch islands obtained greater political autonomy, in the wake of world wide de-colonization. Three years later, the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands was proclaimed, giving full autonomy to the federation of the six islands as a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Claude (as he was known) was elected to the Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles in 1954, representing the three Dutch Windward Islands of Saba, Statia, and Sint Maarten. Under his administration, Sint Maarten was transformed from a neglected colonial backwater into a thriving tourism destination with one of the highest per capita incomes in the region. He won every election until 1990 and made a comeback in 1991 after a brief setback.
After declaring that he was a “proud Caribbean man”, he resigned from office in 1992 as a sign of protest to Dutch “higher supervision”, a form of oversight and financial control imposed by the Dutch government to ensure “good governance”, after allegations of the island’s first coalition government fell and Wathey’s main rivals found themselves in opposition again. In 1994 Wathey was charged with corruption, fraud, and being part of a “criminal” organization; however, he was never sentenced or convicted on any of the latter, but received a one-year prison sentence for perjury. In the duration of his trial Claude Wathey claimed serious health troubles hindered him from appearing in court which delayed the painstaking trial. Claude spent his remaining days on Sint Maarten and died in January 1998. – Wiki
So can we really get away from something that a country was truly founded on ? This will forever be our struggle unless we the people take control and put our foot down, when it comes to the way government execute the peoples duties. For those that didn’t know! This country was build on conspiracy, corruption and fallen governments from the start and it will haunt us until the day we the people stand up. These political games at the benefit of stake holder and campaign supporters, will always just be a game and illusion of our prosperity . We have to set our direction or we will forever fail…
‘’Mr Wathey was a good man’’, I always heard my grandmother saying that. I never got chance to personally speak to Mr Wathey, as was a young boy during the time our country was under his leadership. What i can conclude today as a big man from all the folk tales, was despite what ever Mr Wathey did in his time of Reign, it was solely to ensure that St Maarten People or should I say the inhabitants of St Maarten (as we have always been a very mix cultured population from the start) would be able to cater for their wellbeing by ensuring a sustainable economy for many years to come.
I believe in a man, doing what he has to do , if he it doing it for the right reasons. During Mr Watheys time the country saw progress and our Tourist economy was a vital one. We may never get back a ‘’Mr Claude Wathey’’, so we have to choose diligently who will represent us in moving forward in the next coming years, not only with rebuilding our country but also reassuring the mindset and confidence of the people that all play a vital role in revitalizing and sustaining our economies longevity.
I am confident that if Mr Wathey was alive today he would of given an ear to the tremendous benefits Agri-Culture would of brought our country especially in a time like this , when our food security and well being was of utmost importance to every man, woman and child of this country.
I hope that if we are truly force to go to the poles again, that this time we make our vote count, make it count by not voting for those that were already given a chance to represent us. Lets give a chance to new visionaries with proven track records. Not just empty talkers, complainers and illusionist. Lets vote for people that we have seen been fighting for change amoungst themselves and surrounding communities.
We cant change the world much less our country, if we don’t change ourselves first, most importantly change they way we think. We eat pig tail, pig snout, ears, drink cow milk, smoke cigarettes knowing these things cause all type if diseases to invade our body and even death, but yet we tend to accept how it satisfies our temptation and wants rather then needs, and in the end become contented with the results.
‘’The slave diet’’ . The diet we choose to carry on even after we were free from slavery is just a mindset we refuse to change. Our minds have been conditioned to it its weakest point without us even consciously realizing. It’s no diffrent from politics, we allow ourselves to consume the negative back lashes, blame game, miss representation, non visionaries and ratchet views of our beautiful Island to invade our true perception of what a great leader should be while vigilantly demanding his or her integrity toward our representation. The need to ensure our wellbeing should always be the first priority, if not by government then we have to ensure it to ourselves. We cant always blame government, cause the truth is, we’ll be blaming ourselves because we put them there. There is a lot we can also do as individuals in our community that can also lessen the burden of the tasks government may be face.
We have to start teaming up with our community leaders, NGO’s, successful business men and women, private investors and socially active persons to see how we may be able to spark a network of reliable re-sources that can help toward positive community development efforts.
Irma brought us a chance to change our ‘’diet’’, Demand Integrity Everyone Trusts. ‘’Demonstrating Individual Efforts Together’’ or ‘’ Discover innovative Entrepreneurial Techniques’’ . No matter which one you choose to implement individually, make sure to add the value of Agriculture to it.
At the of the day Agriculture may be one of the sectors that may bring stability to all other sectors. It will bring us back to the root of things, It will bring us back to understanding what you put in is what you get out while connecting us back to our long neglected cultural values.People of cultural stand together with pride, they defend tradition and they uphold solidarity.
So until the day that day that i may be giving an opportunity to represent my people of country St Maarten toward a better tomorrow, I will walk with the spirt of the good man Claude Wathey, defend Agri-Cultural and my countries solidarity until my last breath and add as much value as I can from the outside .
So on your way to the pole this February 2018, don’t fall for the fairy tales, blame gamers and plain out eligible social media complaining candidates who have thus far only outlined the problems without suggesting solutions. Put your vote where it counts and make sure count your vote on track records.
‘For every one can tell a good story, but only a few ever lived it’’ – Wyatte
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