Friday, May 29th

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Editorial - For the right reasons

The port has been in the news quite a bit lately. Most recently Parliament met in an urgent plenary session on Monday to debate the settlement with Zebec regarding the port’s Dutch Village project.

While particularly opposition members sought answers, none have been given yet, because the meeting was adjourned until today, Tuesday. In any case, readers should not hold their breath, due to a non-disclosure clause in the agreement reached. However, it appears a minimum of US $10 million is involved, as that is the amount reportedly borrowed from Social and Health Insurances SZV to help cover the cost.

The latter in and of itself raised quite a few eyebrows, but the most burning question still seems to be how it really could have come to this. After all, giving out land already promised to others is strange, to say the least, especially for such a big organisation with huge responsibilities.

The current situation also occurs at perhaps the worst possible time, with the Prosecutor's Office having started a so-called civil inquiry at the Government-owned company. This in no way is meant to imply that irregularities took place, but the original decision-making process – or lack thereof – concerned certainly can be queried.

It should be kept in mind as well that – still ongoing – similar inquiries in Curaçao at utilities provider Aqualectra, among others, were based on allegations of mismanagement rather than direct wrongdoings. The initiators there want the former Schotte cabinet to be held accountable for such.

However, it must be said that the St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies was also in the spotlight for the right reasons: the inauguration of Walter Plantz Square that should contribute greatly to “spreading the wealth” in terms of cruise passengers taking water tenders to the Philipsburg shopping area. Regardless of what mistakes or errors in judgement may have been made in the past, it remains important to continue working on improving the island’s tourism product for the future.


Publisher’s Note:

Today newspaper publicly requested an explanation as to why its last-minute request (Friday at 7:00pm) for newsprint (paper) was denied that night. When Transparency International (TI) wrote in its report that one of the local newspapers is owned by a politician, Today found it necessary to say it would investigate the ownership of The Daily Herald, while everyone involved in journalism on the island knows – or should know – that it’s a family-owned business founded by Roger Snow and Mary Snow-Hellmund. As a matter of fact, frequent letter writer Russell Summons, in an opinion piece titled “Why is it necessary?” published in this newspaper at the time, openly questioned the “editor of your rival newspaper” for doing so. This is just one example of unnecessarily confrontational writing by Today, hence the decision to – this once – not jump and immediately help it out of its predicament for the umpteenth time.