Dear Editor,

It's not our fault. I am a St. Maarten born child. When I was a little boy St. Maarten was the friendliest place and as a result tourism was booming. Nowadays it has lost its touch a little, thus we need to get that back as that was the main reason why we had what we had. No need to focus on reasons where and when it all went wrong and on who and what.

It’s time to focus on fixing the issue. I can provide a starting point and the rest will be up to you my brothers and sisters. The only thing that’s warming this world up is the fact that people are using nasty words to each other. So this is where we must start. Positive thinking and positive words are the answer to saving the world, but no need to worry about the others; the focus must start with us as a whole. First we save St. Maarten and then this will be an example to the rest of our brother and sisters. People always say, think positive, but don't tell you how to stop the negative thinking.

So this is what you must do: every time you have a negative thought or use a negative word, you must say, I reject that thought and or word. Say out loud or silent but best is out loud. Because not knowingly the words we use and thoughts we have, we are actually performing magic. Say something jokingly and as a result it happens. Yes the words and thoughts we use actually work. So why not just use that knowledge to our advantage? Did you know that when you say to someone “F you,” what is actually happening is that you are putting a curse on that person and also sending a negative vibration to the world.

As a result, the negative vibration must and will return to you. Call it Karma if you like and as we all know, Karma has no deadline. So it works the same if you send positive vibrations to the world, the good must and will return to you. Have you heard of the tree of life? Focus on the tree and it must and will bear fruit. The tree represents you and the fruit represents money. How can a tree survive if the focus is only on the fruit, the tree must die. So let's put our hate and or nasty words in the trash where it belongs.

Did you know that God loves us all, yes all our brothers and sister, we are all one and the same, God’s children. He has made each and every one of us unique and I can prove it in one second. Answer this: Does anyone else on the planet have the same fingerprint as you? I think not, thus he has made all of us unique. Now think of this: is it not true that whenever you invite someone to your home, they are protected by you? I mean no man can mess with your invited guest right? At the same time, your guest must follow and respect your house rules right?

Now think of this: This is God's house and he only has 10 basic rules in his house. Would you say that a positive thinking human will go and steal or kill? I think not. So, it's safe to say that positive thinking is godly and happens to be the direct line to him. And with the direct line to him we must and will be protected by him. Think of how you would do with your own child. God has blessed us to feel what it's like to be him. Giving us love and yes, sometimes tough love as our parents did with us and as we do with our children.

God is 100 per cent real, whether you believe it or not. Stop worrying about the end of the world and other junk, as there shall be no end of the world. There is enough for all of God's children. This is step one my brothers and sisters.

As you start with this, it usually takes about three months before you will start noticing the change in your life as it has with me. Step two will be discussed another time as we all have homework to do, yes this includes me. Step two will be in understanding how the brain works and this is where we see that it's not our fault. Until then my brothers and sisters, remember that God is great and he loves each and every one of us.

A quick story, a young brother today saw that I was in a bind; now this brother took immediate action to help me and as a result saved me, his help brought tears to my eyes because I felt the love, it was all love with zero monetary expectation in return. This type of brother is what makes life worth living. I will be forever in his grace and now as a result gave me the strength needed to write to all of you my brothers and sisters. Positive vibrations, this is what the legend Bob Marley was talking about.

Renny van Grieken

aka Toutbaguy

(loosely translated everyone or everything)

Dear Editor,

Last week I read an article in The Daily Herald with the headline “Academy focussing on ICT development.” This brought me back to my days at the academy, when phones and other electronic devices were prohibited. However, the school seems to have come a long way in embracing technology by implementing an online portal, where parents can track their child’s progress, and allowing students to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). The school also plans to upgrade its Information Technology (IT) infrastructure to accommodate e-marking for CXC exams and implement a BYOD policy.

These changes are welcomed, but I believe that more can be done at the secondary education level to prepare students for a career in IT. When students are in the second form, they are given a choice: Business or Science. I believe IT should be one of these choices. Information Technology (IT) is a science, but it is not taught as a science at St. Maarten Academy. Both business and science students get the same IT class. Students are taught as computer users, not IT professionals.

I propose that students be given the opportunity to learn how to repair phones, tablets, and computers along with basic networking skills and security pertaining to IT. As an IT professional, I hold several industry certifications, such as the A+ (deals with computer repairs, software, and hardware), Network+ (deals with IT network basics) and the Security+ (deals with IT security basics). These are all certifications that can be done at the high school level.

There is already a vast amount of study material for these certifications, curricula that are updated regularly by CompTIA, and this would provide a worthwhile goal for students to work towards while working on their high school diploma. There are several other benefits for students who chose to do IT in high school such as:

• Students would have 1 to 3 certifications along with their high school diploma after they graduate.

• These certifications would prepare students for a job in the IT field right after graduation.

• If these students choose to further their IT studies at a college or university, most colleges accept these certifications as credit for certain classes, which would reduce tuition and time spent in college.

• Some businesses consider a certification as experience in the IT industry, which would give students a head start in their career.

• Students who chose to study IT in high school, could use their skills to open a business after graduating, or as a secondary source of income.

This idea is not new, there are many high schools that offer IT in the USA and Europe. However, when it comes to technology, St. Maarten has always been lagging behind other countries, even countries we consider less developed. This is evident by the internet speeds advertised and the prices we consider normal. Most people on the Dutch side think 2MBs for $50 is a good deal until they find out they can get 20MB for $45 right across the border.

Both TelEm and UTS only launched 4G last year (2015), a technology that has been around since 2009. Banks don’t allow customers to pay their utility and telephone bills online and ATMs don’t accept deposits, these are all norms in St. Maarten.

Introducing IT in high school would be a great way to jump ahead and embrace the digital future while giving high school grads a real head start. I still remember my first semester in college, many students came from high schools that offered IT, and so they came with a bit more knowledge, experience and a few certifications under their belt. In the end, I graduated at the top of my class, but I had a fair amount of catching up to do.

If this is implemented, students from St. Maarten who choose to study IT will have a much easier transition. Of course, the school will have to do surveys, research, and probably launch this as a pilot program, but ultimately I believe it will be worthwhile.

Ramzan Juman

Dear Editor,

It is fascinating to watch the open denial of accounts that has led to this political disaster – a situation that has set the island in regress for more than 25 years. The question is: Who do these candidates represent and whose loyalty are they seeking for this upcoming election?

Politicians, who were given a chance to serve and have broken the trust of the people, still feel that the government apparatus remains their political playground. So, some choose to be resurrected from the burial site, while others demanded their position on a party slate with the hope to confuse the electorate.

What is so common among all of these betrayers is that they have never admitted their mistakes. Instead, they are bold-faced enough to come on the air to justify their actions and with absolutely no regrets. Each one of them is trying to manipulate the public once more with their flamboyant talk and charisma; while deep within, they still possess this insatiable appetite to seize more and more.

No one is perfect so it is quite acceptable for any politician to make a mistake, but when the behaviour is done repeatedly then it cannot be classified or viewed as a mistake. This kind of conduct is a gradual exposure of their true character. In fact, when elected or appointed officials display this selfish attitude it is a deliberate attempt to destabilize the institution, just to enrich themselves.

The problem is clouds of suspicions still hang over their heads because they have failed to tell us truth – the truth about what really transpired during the fall of various governments. What was the real deal when they chose to become an independent Member of Parliament? Any honest person who has made amends, according to their own admission, would level with the people. It takes individuals who are sincere, humble and courageous to admit their mistakes. Sometimes this choice could either break or make them, but it is the people who will be the judge.

When I listened to these traitors and how much they were allowed to rattle, it is evident that they are in control of the various interviews. It is also obvious that they are recruited for a specific purpose, and that is to confuse those who are still unable to choose. As indicated in one of my articles last year, these politicians are professional cooks who will serve you the most delicious meal and minutes after, you are subjected to severe diarrhoea.

For sure, a leopard does not change its spots! Even the Deputy Leader of the UP Party, made this statement on the floor of Parliament when independent members Maurice Lake and Silvio Matser left his party last year. If this is indeed true, then why should the public be convinced that MPs Cornelius de Weever and Leona Marlin-Romeo will be different, now that they have officially joined the UPP? Would the leopard change its spots to suit or would the leopard remain the leopard and be true to its nature?

The electorate really needs to look at the behaviour of all the independent members. Neither of them has had the guts to think independently. They would rather choose to abandon parliamentary meetings in order to cover up their coward and deceitful nature; and if they are present, some would side with the party that opposes the very motions that are beneficial to the people. Again, the Deputy Leader of the UPP is correct when he said that a leopard does not change its spots.

In his interviews former MP Romain Laville stressed a lot on the gun issue with his ex-colleague. If my memory serves me right, there was a musician who also filed a similar complaint. What happen to his case? Laville further stated that he was warned by someone of the Justice chain that persons are planning to hurt him and was asked if he needed a weapon to protect himself. Is Romain Laville trying to convince this public that the Justice Department is aware of persons who planned on hurting him and did nothing to these individuals?  

This is the same “Nancy Story” that we have gotten from the number five candidate on the US slate. She has attempted to persuade the public that the Prosecutor’s Office is out to get her. So she comes on the air and chat froth just like the others. In fact, all of them think that the people are stupid. To date, not one of them has restored their credibility to an acceptable level. That is why they need to ask themselves if their action inspires (in the true sense) others or has their character become a questionable item?

Mature and responsible politicians are cognizant of the fact that trust and respect is the foundation for a healthy relationship. These defectors preferred to tarnish their character by failing to acknowledge that the electorate deserves the truth!

Joslyn Morton

Dear Editor,

It’s with great pleasure and gratitude that the Foresee (4C) Foundation read the recent communication through our local media that the Minister of Finance has taken a firm decision to adjust the legislation on filing taxes, understandably under certain conditions.

Believing in the 4Cs of Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and Critical thinking, we sincerely thank all persons and entities who have played a crucial role in this process “foreseeing,” recognizing and acknowledging the crucial role that non-profit NGOs and numerous volunteers make for the betterment of St. Maarten.

Special thanks goes out to Minister of Finance, Richard Gibson Senior, President of Parliament, Sarah Wescot-Williams and Head of the Parliamentary Educational Committee Rudolph Samuel, who was instrumental in accommodating Foresee Foundation to share this information and all Parliament members who showed their deep involvement.

Additionally, commendations must go out to all dedicated and community-serving NGOs, their board members and volunteers, such as the afternoon school programmes, community centres, service clubs, youth and senior citizen organizations, ambassadors of nature, culture, local arts, animal welfare, health and sport organizations, educational and socially involved partners, charity foundations, organizations who cater for the under-privileged, etc., all of whom would have been adversely affected had this legislation continue to stand.

All of them are often the unsung heroes in our community and we are grateful to have received the opportunity to share our concerns while also encouraging everybody who has a true heart for St. Maarten to move forward on making real change by showing empathy and compassion on a daily basis.

Finally, a big thank you to all our local media who have shared this information with our St. Maarten community and who have pushed these shared concerns towards a positive decision.

On behalf of the Foresee Foundation Board and all its project members and volunteers in the DigiKidz, DigiWorkz and Philipsburg jubilee library Medialab, For The Win Gaming, C-TEC and beyond.

Jose Verschueren-Sommers

Alston Lourens

John de Vroom

Melissa Gumbs

Sjurensly Valies

Dear Editor,

Is there a law that governs the amount of profit a supermarket makes on food items? Is there a profit margin that governs the pricing of basic food items on St Maarten? If there is one, is it being enforced? My curiosity about the aforementioned was spurred when on the June 29, I purchased 4 boxes of Soy-Vida (Gloria Product) from Sunny Foods Supermarket at Fls. 4.15 each.

After checking my receipt and other supermarkets to compare the price, I returned to the establishment to inform management that the item was overpriced. A supervisor checked the price in the computer and affirmed that it was correct. When I tried to explain that the item was overpriced, I was additionally informed that, "This is Sunny Foods." Should we, consumers, assume that this supermarket could sell an item at whatever cost comes to mind?

To date, other supermarkets still sell the item for approximately Fls. 3.00, conversely, Sunny Foods exhibits the similar price on the shelf, but the cash register does not reflect same. Is it alright for these establishments to have such variations in prices on basic food items?

Did Sunny Food purchase a new batch of this beverage at a higher cost, hence, the escalation of the retail price one guilder something more than the previous batch? Did the other supermarkets purchase an extra-large batch of soy beverage permitting them to retain the original cost?

I believe there needs to be a designated price mark-up on basic food items, and stricter supervision of the price application supermarkets employ.

Frugal consumer,

Tracy Joseph

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