SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Leader of the People’s Progressive Alliance (PPA) Gracita Arrindell stated in a press release on Sunday, “Most people took a big sigh of relief when the first tropical storm threat took a turn away from Sint Maarten. It’s a fact of life, we live in the hurricane belt. It’s a fact of life, we cannot move our island up or down out of harms way, during the hurricane season.
“It is therefore incumbent upon all of us, including Parliament, Government, private sector and individual citizens to continue to do all possible to mitigate the effects of another hurricane hit.
“After a hopeful start, our ship of state regrettably is clearly off-course.
A state of affairs made worse by the effects of hurricane Irma. There is a clear lack of decisive leadership which must focus on the peoples business instead of political grandstanding. There simply is no place or time for personal agendas.”
Arrindell said: “If we fail to plan, we are planning to fail. After many months of waiting, a new government is finally appointed, supported by the slimmest of majority in Parliament. One would believe that given the state of affairs of our country, which is, a very slow and ad-hoc recovery and clean up process, would encourage our elected representatives to take a closer look at the peoples agenda, and subsequently outline its priorities right after taking their oath of office and act accordingly in solidarity with the citizens of our island.”
Arrindell adds, “Instead, our Parliament decides to go on its usual recess, with vacation pay. Parliament is elected for a four -year term. It just is not right! While many workers had to resort to take their employers to court for alleged un- law-full dismissals, pay cuts etc.
“To be clear, we are aware that Parliament can always be called back to deal with matters of emergency facing our Nation. But, isn’t that the present case less than one year following Hurricane Irma? Until matters normalize somewhat for hundreds of individual households, families, and small business, until we have a more efficient public sector and a more robust growing private sector, shouldn’t the law-abiding hard working families and tax paying businesses expect more active leadership from our Parliament”?
Gracita said: “Many of the issues Sint Maarten faced prior to 10-10-10 still make headlines today. Un-balanced budgets, lack of adequate financial and other critically needed personnel, lack of timely financial statements submitted to our own General Audit Chamber. Post hurricane Irma, more pressing issues are added to the list of unfinished business including; adequate social housing, introduction of universal healthcare system, establishing a functioning consumer’s protection agency, introduction of a unemployment benefit regulation.
“Once again the peoples agenda must include a plan to establish an island wide, district by district, street, road, alley, hill top clean up and building repainting program. Presenting a lasting solution to eliminate the garbage dump in the heart of Philipsburg remains at the center of this clean up process.
While the proverbial ‘shit hits the fan’, reportedly, some government departments have no funds to literally buy toilet paper for its staff, many other departments lack basic working materials, Parliament is out wandering, in stead of keeping government on its toes. This is no laughing matter.”
Arrindell concludes: “Regression or even a standstill in our slow reconstruction process is not the way forward. The release of the 55 million reconstruction funds from the Netherlands is welcome news. This requires pro-active thinking followed by effective implementation of policies and programs by both Parliament and Government.
“Sint Maarten has been good, very good to many people from all walks of life. Some have packed up and left disappointed, disillusioned. Many stayed yet hoping for a better tomorrow. Others remain taking Sint Maarten for granted, not paying or putting in their fair share in the clean up and rebuilding process. It just is not right. I am convinced Sint Maarten will be better, stronger, smarter, cleaner, if we all do our part,” the PPA Leader Gracita Arrindell said on Sunday.