By now the people of St. Maarten who are faithful readers of The Daily Herald are aware that on many occasions I have called for civics to be added to the curriculum in our schools. Children have to know from an early age how their country is governed and they should also know their obligations as well as their rights and they should also know who their leaders in government are and how they got to be in that position.
One would think that after so many times of toppling the government, politicians from St. Maarten would have mastered the rules and regulations guiding the political elections. To my surprise two days before election I read in the paper that there are many misconceptions about “time off to vote” and that candidate Samuel calls for Election Day rules and regulations to be crystal clear, while outlining the different rules that were used for the many political elections that we have had in just nine-plus years. And then, as if it is a favor or novelty, the Minister of Education is making sure to save his hide by announcing, again just a few days before elections, that schools would be closed on election day.
Do these things really have to be emphasized? One would think that those laws, rules and regulations would be known and if there were any changes then these would be made known in time and published. This again tells me that our people in government, especially the seasoned ones, never took time and are still not taking time to establish laws, rules and regulations so that the people can be duly informed.
One of the things that caught my attention during conversations in the presence of Claude “Chacho” Peterson was his command of the laws of the Constitution of St. Maarten. Something that I have wanted and still want is for the people of St. Maarten to be well-versed in civics.
One has to know what his/her country is about to be able to be stable and also be able to represent what his/her country.is. Sad to say, two days before elections I have to read in the paper that many people are not aware of simple rights. One would think that with professional educators who have been in leading positions in government for years as well as politicians who have made use of the schoolchildren to promote themselves they would be sympathetic to educating the people of the land, but this is not conducive because we are going to make the people aware.
Russell A. Simmons