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Dear Editor,

I took notice of the editorial in an edition of one of the daily newspapers with the heading "Raising the level." I have to agree that many of the parliamentarians do not take sufficient time to prepare for the discussions that they will be participating in. That is very much noticeable during the meetings of parliament.

But I would dare say that that same heading can be applied to the journalists who participate in the press conferences organized by the local government. During these press conferences the journalists appear to be timid, very subservient and lack firmness in their questioning.

Because they are timid, they sometimes make the posing of a question a laughing matter, which takes the seriousness out of the question. They seldom pose follow-up questions. In general, they must prepare better, attend the press conferences with topics that they have researched and of which topics they have prepared questions.

They should ask the ministers pointed questions and put them on the spot. They should pose questions that will bring clarity to exactly what are the ministers doing to better the lives of their constituents.

The following are some questions that can be posed to the ministers:

Seeing that the Prime Minister, according to my humble opinion, never gave a public statement about the causeway, question her about it. Ask the Prime Minister if constructing the causeway is a priority of her government. Ask the Prime Minister if she finds that it is a wise idea to spend fifty million dollars on a causeway when the road network of the island is in a deplorable state.

All the Prime Minister has to do is take a look at the roads in Simpson Bay, the place where her party receives the majority of votes. Ask the Prime Minister why she allowed the two parliamentarians of her party to embarrass themselves trying to defend a blunder that was made by two parliamentarians of the United People's party and as such caused permanent damage to the credibility of Parliament.

Question the Deputy Prime Minister about his insensitivity towards the needs of the less fortunate on the island. Question the Deputy Prime Minister about the causeway. Ask him why he doesn't cancel building the causeway and use the money to enhance the living environment of the less fortunate on the island.

Ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he believes that by giving out pencil cases to schoolchildren he is showing concern for the needs of the less fortunate. Ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he believes it is fitting to play with the emotions of children for political gain. Ask the Deputy Prime Minister, since he is the political leader of government, when is he going to hold a referendum, so that he can champion independence for St. Maarten, seeing that he stated more than once that he cannot cope with the established checks and balances in government.

Question the Minister of Justice about the minister's policy to open many police substations on the island. Ask the Minister of Justice how many officers will be stationed at these substations and what will be their working schedule.

Ask the Minister of Justice if he doesn't realize that by placing police officers in these substations all over the island many of those officers will become stationary, which is contrary to the policy – more blue on the street. Buildings do not prevent crime, dedicated officers do.

Ask the minister if it won't be more beneficial to the Police Force and by extension to the community of St. Maarten to use the money that will have to be spent on the furnishing and the upkeep of these substations to train and upgrade the officers in the different fields of policing. Knowledge is power and the Dutch side of St. Maarten is only 16 square miles.

Ask the minister why the two present police stations, fully manned by well-trained, dedicated and knowledgeable officers, are not what St. Maarten really needs and anything more will be just window-dressing and spending money on buildings that country St. Maarten does not have.

Ask the minister if the upkeep of these substations is not going to be costly and where will he be getting the funds from for such, seeing that less money has been allocated to his ministry on the budget for 2012.

Question the Minister of Education, Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs about the minister's take on government's yearly investment of one million guilders in Carnival and the Heineken Regatta. Ask the minister what is government's yearly investment in sports on the island. Ask the minister how much money is donated yearly by government to the local sports organizations. Ask the minister which of the following events is more beneficial to the island: Carnival, the Heineken Regatta or sports for the youth.

Question the Minister of Finance about the minister's non-action to collect taxes from those persons and businesses who are not contributing to the government coffers. Ask the minister when he is going to form a team of civil servants and send them out in the field to identify those asocial persons and business owners who are not paying taxes.

Question the Minister of Health, Labour and Social Affairs about his policy on the issuing of work permits. Ask the minister when he is going to implement a moratorium on work permits to newcomers (expatriates) to prevent the island from becoming overpopulated.

Question the Minister of Economic Affairs, Tourism, Transport and Telecommunication about his policy on Aviation Affairs. Ask the minister when St. Maarten is going to be upgraded. Ask him if St. Maarten is going to continue to depend on the services of Curaçao.

Those are just a few questions that should be posed to the ministers, but there are so many, if only the journalists do their homework and prepare. Exposing wrongdoings by government is an important part of the task of the press. So, members of the press, go out and do your work in an objective manner and by doing such the press will become an asset to the community.

Todd Peterson


Dear Editor,

I took notice of the editorial in an edition of one of the daily newspapers with the heading "Raising the level." I have to agree that many of the parliamentarians do not take sufficient time to prepare for the discussions that they will be participating in. That is very much noticeable during the meetings of parliament.

But I would dare say that that same heading can be applied to the journalists who participate in the press conferences organized by the local government. During these press conferences the journalists appear to be timid, very subservient and lack firmness in their questioning.

Because they are timid, they sometimes make the posing of a question a laughing matter, which takes the seriousness out of the question. They seldom pose follow-up questions. In general, they must prepare better, attend the press conferences with topics that they have researched and of which topics they have prepared questions.

They should ask the ministers pointed questions and put them on the spot. They should pose questions that will bring clarity to exactly what are the ministers doing to better the lives of their constituents.

The following are some questions that can be posed to the ministers:

Seeing that the Prime Minister, according to my humble opinion, never gave a public statement about the causeway, question her about it. Ask the Prime Minister if constructing the causeway is a priority of her government. Ask the Prime Minister if she finds that it is a wise idea to spend fifty million dollars on a causeway when the road network of the island is in a deplorable state.

All the Prime Minister has to do is take a look at the roads in Simpson Bay, the place where her party receives the majority of votes. Ask the Prime Minister why she allowed the two parliamentarians of her party to embarrass themselves trying to defend a blunder that was made by two parliamentarians of the United People's party and as such caused permanent damage to the credibility of Parliament.

Question the Deputy Prime Minister about his insensitivity towards the needs of the less fortunate on the island. Question the Deputy Prime Minister about the causeway. Ask him why he doesn't cancel building the causeway and use the money to enhance the living environment of the less fortunate on the island.

Ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he believes that by giving out pencil cases to schoolchildren he is showing concern for the needs of the less fortunate. Ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he believes it is fitting to play with the emotions of children for political gain. Ask the Deputy Prime Minister, since he is the political leader of government, when is he going to hold a referendum, so that he can champion independence for St. Maarten, seeing that he stated more than once that he cannot cope with the established checks and balances in government.

Question the Minister of Justice about the minister's policy to open many police substations on the island. Ask the Minister of Justice how many officers will be stationed at these substations and what will be their working schedule.

Ask the Minister of Justice if he doesn't realize that by placing police officers in these substations all over the island many of those officers will become stationary, which is contrary to the policy – more blue on the street. Buildings do not prevent crime, dedicated officers do.

Ask the minister if it won't be more beneficial to the Police Force and by extension to the community of St. Maarten to use the money that will have to be spent on the furnishing and the upkeep of these substations to train and upgrade the officers in the different fields of policing. Knowledge is power and the Dutch side of St. Maarten is only 16 square miles.

Ask the minister why the two present police stations, fully manned by well-trained, dedicated and knowledgeable officers, are not what St. Maarten really needs and anything more will be just window-dressing and spending money on buildings that country St. Maarten does not have.

Ask the minister if the upkeep of these substations is not going to be costly and where will he be getting the funds from for such, seeing that less money has been allocated to his ministry on the budget for 2012.

Question the Minister of Education, Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs about the minister's take on government's yearly investment of one million guilders in Carnival and the Heineken Regatta. Ask the minister what is government's yearly investment in sports on the island. Ask the minister how much money is donated yearly by government to the local sports organizations. Ask the minister which of the following events is more beneficial to the island: Carnival, the Heineken Regatta or sports for the youth.

Question the Minister of Finance about the minister's non-action to collect taxes from those persons and businesses who are not contributing to the government coffers. Ask the minister when he is going to form a team of civil servants and send them out in the field to identify those asocial persons and business owners who are not paying taxes.

Question the Minister of Health, Labour and Social Affairs about his policy on the issuing of work permits. Ask the minister when he is going to implement a moratorium on work permits to newcomers (expatriates) to prevent the island from becoming overpopulated.

Question the Minister of Economic Affairs, Tourism, Transport and Telecommunication about his policy on Aviation Affairs. Ask the minister when St. Maarten is going to be upgraded. Ask him if St. Maarten is going to continue to depend on the services of Curaçao.

Those are just a few questions that should be posed to the ministers, but there are so many, if only the journalists do their homework and prepare. Exposing wrongdoings by government is an important part of the task of the press. So, members of the press, go out and do your work in an objective manner and by doing such the press will become an asset to the community.

Todd Peterson