Thursday, July 02, 2020

In the Council of Ministers Press Briefing held on Wednesday, June 17, 2020, the Honorable Prime Minister Jacobs recounted the virtual meeting that she and the Minister of Finance had with State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations, drs. Raymond Knops. The word that caught my attention during the Prime Minister’s report was the word “respect”, because she used it several times during her talk.

Apparently, the meeting did not go as the Prime Minister expected and as she said it was“ended quite abruptly by State Secretary Knops”.

I think that before judging who is right and who is wrong in this encounter between the Prime Minister and the State Secretary, we need to hear both sides of the story. But listening carefully to the MP’s narration, I, therefore, conclude that our PM felt very much disrespected by State Secretary Knops throughout the entire meeting.

The PM stated that Knops blamed her of being uncooperative which “was definitely a slap in the face of the people of Sint Maarten who have done everything and I mean everything to live up to conditions set on us by previous agreements set by previous governments, we have maintained those agreements”. If the PM believes that Knops’ accusation is a slap in the face of the Sint Maarten people, then I think that the people have the right to hear and see the entire conversation for themselves or at least, Knops should be given the opportunity to defend himself towards the Sint Maarten people.

Now we must remember that this feud between the Party of our Prime Minister, the National Alliance, and the State Secretary Knops and even his predecessor Minister Ronald Plasterkstarted years ago. During those years the National Alliance has not always afforded Knops the necessary respect. Just last year, when our PM was in Parliament in the opposition benches, her party really did not speak of Knops in elevated and respectful terms. In September 2019, SMCP’s Member of Parliament, Claude Peterson, requested State Secretary Knops to come to Parliament and he quickly accepted although as State Secretary he is not obliged to do so. This was a first-time achievement since 10-10-10 and it was the perfect opportunity to dialogue with the State Secretary and improve relations with the Dutch, which was a priority of SMCP and part and parcel of our Coalition Agreement and our Governing Program, Unfortunately, the National Alliance, of which the Prime Minister is the Leader, was one of the parties that refused to attend the meeting which consequently had to be cancelled. Making a statement about the State Secretary behind his back, but not willing to confront him face to face, is also very disrespectful. My mother always used to tell me that respect is not demanded, it is earned and that one must give respect to gain respect.

Now I am not trying to defend or exonerate State Secretary Knops but I do know that in order to pronounce him guilty of disrespect the entire exchange between him and the PM needs to be heard and seen or he should give his side of the story to the Sint Maarten people.

As former Acting Prime Minister and as a member of the Romeo-II Council of Ministers I have had to deal directly with State Secretary Knops. He is indeed a tough negotiator and has a no-nonsense personality. However, I found that one can reason with him if one has all the facts, figures and documents to defend one’s cause. We all know that former Prime Minister, Leona Marlin Romeo, was a strong woman and not easily pushed over by any one. I have seen and heard her stand her ground in meetings and in telephone conversations with Mr. Knops.At the end of these encounters both she and the State Secretary always maintained their composure as well as their respect for each other. This goes to show that respect is not demanded but it is earned.

In order for the Sint Maarten people to be able to accurately judge the level of disrespect that occurred during the meeting between the PM and the State Secretary, I am calling on the PM to release the video of the entire virtual meeting or to give Mr. Knops the opportunity to respond to her account of the meeting, as this would be the respectful thing to do.

In closing I would like to remind our Prime Minister of the words of R. G. Risch:

“Respect is a two-way street, if you want to get it, you’ve got to give it”.

Wycliffe Smith

Leader of SMCP

NEW YORK (AP) — After voicing support for Woody Allen and criticizing cancel culture, Spike Lee apologized Saturday for words he said were “wrong.” In an interview Friday on the New York radio station WOR 710, Lee called Allen “a great, great filmmaker.” “This cancel thing is not just Woody. And I think that when we look back on it, (we’re) gonna see that, short of killing somebody, I don’t if you can just erase somebody like they never existed. Woody’s a friend of mine,” said Lee. “I know he’s going through it right now.”


NEW YORK (AP) — Gary Phillips, a prize-winning crime novelist from Los Angeles, grew up on TV shows that showed a world nothing like the one he lived in. “I watched them all, ‘Dragnet,’ ‘Adam 12,’ ‘The Wild, Wild West,’ ‘Mannix,’ ‘Cannon,’ ‘Peter Gunn’ reruns and on and on. Now these were white guys and they were tough but fair and even-handed,” he told The Associated Press in a recent email, referring to popular programs mostly from the 1960s and 1970s. “I remember a ‘Dragnet’ episode where tight-ass Joe Friday solved racism among black and white officers in a weekend retreat. But I was a kid growing up in South Central and even then some part of me knew a lot of this was jive. We knew the cops out of Newton and 77th Division policed the ’hood a lot different than shown on TV.”

NEW YORK (AP) — An angry and emotional Dave Chappelle spoke on the killing of George Floyd in a surprise Netflix special, saying America was being punished for its mistreatment of black men. “I don’t mean to get heavy but we got to say something,” said Chappelle, who added that America is enduring “the wrath of God” for a string of police assaults on black men. The special was released Thursday and is streaming free on Netflix’s comedy YouTube channel. It was taken from a show at an outdoor pavilion in Yellow Springs, Ohio, with about 100 attendees on June 6.

Nanci Ryder, a powerful Hollywood publicist and co-founder of BWR Public Relations who became close to such stars as Renée Zellweger and Courteney Cox, died Thursday of Lou Gehrig’s disease in Los Angeles. She was 67. Ryder was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — or ALS — in 2014. The neurodegenerative disease gradually claimed her ability to walk, talk, eat and move. Her death was announced by publicist Lynda Dorf. Ryder’s clients — including Michael J. Fox, Reese Witherspoon, Viggo Mortensen and Sarah Michelle Gellar — blossomed into close friends. Zellweger thanked Ryder in her best actress acceptance speech when she won the Academy Award for “Judy” earlier this year. Witherspoon called her a “second mother.”