Sunday, September 20, 2020

Gracita Arrindell states: “the current state of governance is critical as our island continues to grapple with business closures, underuse of Trust Fund millions, archaic government IT network, administrators who congratulate themselves on the back for doing poorly what they are handsomely paid for.  There is continued gross negligence of our infrastructure. 

Law-abiding citizens lose faith as they ponder how much longer they can survive under the current circumstances of high unemployment, high taxation with poor representation”.

“To make matters worse, the current administration is understandably under immense pressure from the current Dutch government to accept one-sided conditions for temporary much-needed liquidity support. Conditions presented by the current Minister for Kingdom Relations Mr. Knops to establish a Caribbean Reform Entity it appears to make him seem increasingly arrogant in his approach and approach towards the governments and Parliaments of Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten. Compared to many of his ten  (10) predecessors. This is both worrisome and contra-productive to the current dialogue.”

 “Our current Government is pulled in all directions. Adversely doing so, lost focus on its priorities and its ability to share these in a timely fashion in an open and transparent manner with Parliament and citizens alike is pitiful.  An example is the recent ‘incident’ regarding the very tardy disclosure of a decision rendered by the local Council of Advice regarding the Dutch governments proposed ‘new entity’ that includes Sint Maarten.  This is truly unacceptable. Parliament has the power to investigate this latest failure of the current administration and act accordingly. Indignation by MP’S should be followed with concrete Parliamentary actions to hold government accountable for not sharing this legal document as and when due” said Arrindell.

Gracita continues and states: keeping our focus on the need to generate much-needed income for our depleted government coffers requires everyone to contribute and pay their fair share. Revitalizing our economy remains an utmost priority. To date, our island continues to welcome almost empty airplanes especially from the USA. Other competing islands are doing everything possible to lure more affluent tourist to their shores.  Where government fails or lacks, Parliament can and must step in and redirect necessary funds and efficient policies to make an impact.

With no improvement Parliament can render a vote of no confidence in a single Minister or an entire cabinet. MP’S are the eyes and ears of the People it represents.  They are supposed to be elected by the People to work For the People. More and concrete goal oriented action is merited from the Peoples representatives as well.   The subject of Tourism as it relates to our quest to attract and welcome repeat-business and new tourist to Sint Maarten needs to be addressed head on and with a clear mind.

Why do we allow businesses to:

  • plaster more and bigger liquor and other household or cosmetic adds on their walls?It must stop. It cheapens our island.
  • Hang their laundries over their balconies, including in Philipsburg and surrounding areas? It must stop. It cheapens our island.
  • Hang adds on fences randomly and not remove them after an event? It must stop. It cheapens our island.
  • Why do we allow ‘for sale’ cars and car carcasses to be parked all over especially on the main roads? It must stop. It cheapens our island.
  • Why are there no lights on the Simpson bay Bridge and sporadic lights on the causeway bridge? It’s a scourge and unsafe. It must stop. It cheapens our island
  • Boat-wrecks still litter the Simpson-bay lagoon while reportedly funds have been earmarked or better yet spent to clear the debris after Hurricane Irma. It must stop. It cheapens our island.
  • Number booths literally all over including on side- walks? It must stop. It cheapens our island.

Wouldn’t we want to welcome our guests with a cleaner, friendlier Sint Maarten?Isn’t it time to welcome our citizens and guests alike in a warmer manner at the airport? Its not enough to say we are the friendly island. We must actually be friendlier and we must show it and mean it. Words and promises are what got us into this situation. We must now act decisively and demand results.

Arrindell concludes: “ What you see is what you get” is a popular saying. Corruption is bad everywhere. A combination of corruption and greedis terrible for attracting both local and foreign investments. Failure to attract investment is a recipe for poverty and crime. Corruption and greed paired with our inability to get things moving in the right direction without the help of a vigilant and corrective Parliament isa recipe for economic stagnation and a danger for our democracy.“

ATLANTA (AP) — Rapper and actor T.I. has settled civil charges with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that he helped promote a fraudulent cryptocurrency. T.I., whose real name is Clifford Harris, agreed to a civil settlement with the SEC that was announced Friday. He is paying a $75,000 fine and agreeing not to sell or market similar securities for at least five years. Harris got into trouble, the SEC said, because he used his social media accounts to promote FLiK, falsely claiming to be a co-owner, and asked an unnamed actor and comedian to also promote FLiK, providing language calling it T.I.’s “new venture.” The SEC says both of those moves broke federal laws against selling securities without registering with the SEC. The charges against Harris were part of a larger enforcement action against others including film producer Ryan Felton, who faces wire fraud and other charges in a 28-count indictment unsealed Wednesday.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Legal advocates are lining up on both sides of actor Bill Cosby’s appeal as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court prepares to review his 2018 sex assault conviction. Cosby was the first celebrity to go on trial in the #MeToo era, and his appeal could resolve lingering questions about how the cases should be tried. For starters, the high court will try to clarify when other accusers can testify against a defendant — and when the additional testimony amounts to character assassination. Public defenders in Philadelphia, in a friend-of-the-court brief filed in Cosby’s appeal, noted that courts have given conflicting guidance on the issue.

NEW YORK (AP) — The Council of Fashion Designers of America gave its top fashion awards on Monday to Gabriela Hearst for womenswear and Kerby Jean-Raymond for menswear. The two designers led a group of winners that the CFDA said was the most diverse in the 39-year history of the awards. It was the second honor in two days for Jean-Raymond, the prominent Black founder of the Pyer Moss label, who was also named Designer of the Year by Harlem’s Fashion Row in a virtual ceremony on Sunday. The CFDA winners also included Telfar Clemens, who won the accessories award, and Christopher John Rogers, who won for American emerging designer. All four were first-time winners.

NEW YORK (AP) — There’s a scene in a new documentary about Paris Hilton, where the so-called socialite is speaking with former classmates from a Utah boarding school. They joke about how on her reality series “The Simple Life,” Hilton pretended to be clueless over many things— including how to perform any sort of manual labor. One bluntly described it as “some straight-up (expletive),” as they all laughed. “I don’t think you had like a high-pitch voice back then,” was another observation. None of this is a surprise to Hilton. What’s revealed in “This is Paris,” which debuted for free Monday on Hilton’s YouTube channel, is that the ultra-glam, baby-talking young woman whose standard line was “that’s hot,” was a manufactured caricature not just for fame but self-protection, too.