To our young voters.
I would like to take some of your time to share my thoughts with you, concerning the upcoming elections.
Politicians will be asking you for your vote. They will tell you that you are the future leaders of this country and they will try to impress on you the need to vote and, more important, to vote for them. They will make you promises and they will tell you why NOT to vote for others.
This is how I see it.
You are the future leaders, but do you know what condition the country will be in when you take it over? You have a right to know. You must question ALL politicians.
They tell you all the plans they have, but they do not tell you that if they become a part of the Central Government, they will have to negotiate. That means they will have to compromise. They donít know what they will have to give up to get what they want. The fact that they will be giving up something means they will not get all that they want. Why then, are they trying to impress you with these big promises? They are not trying to impress you. They are trying to fool you.
We, the older ones, were given the impression that all was well. Now we are being told that things are bad and we must pay to resolve the situation. Why then, are we taxed so heavily?
Ask the politicians, who are today against the taxes, how soon they would abolish the taxes, if they were elected. What would they do to replace those taxes? If they give you a time frame, ask them to sign a resignation letter, dated by the date they promise to have the taxes abolished. No politician can promise you that there will be no more taxes. They may rant and rave, but in the end, they will tell you ďI didnít know it was soĒ.
Some of the statements they make give the impression that they donít know what this election is about. They are not even sure that, if elected, they will be part of the Government. They donít tell you that whatever they want to do will require the support of, at least, eleven other parliamentarians.
The next government will have to maintain these measures or implement new ones to resolve the situation, but some politicians will give you a song and dance around, rather than tell you the truth. Most of them will play action/re-action and hope you will not question them.
Politicians may not tell you this, but all you have is the Antillean Guilder. We must make sacrifices to PROTECT it. You only have U.S Dollars if those dollars are outside the Antilles. Devaluation of the Antillean Guilder will mean increased taxation, because your tax base is in guilders. Lack of foreign exchange can lead to devaluation.
Is there any assurance that the measures they implement or abolish will solve our foreign reserve situation? They will try to convince you they are doing their best.
How much does St. Maarten owe the Central Government and for what?
How will they pay?
What does each department cost and can we afford to take it over and run it optimally?
All in all, I suggest that whichever party you support must treat you with respect. Put your ďwish listĒ together and present it to all political parties. Then 3 months after the next government takes over, show them the list again and ask them when your wishes will be implemented.
You must be vigilant from now and donít accept excuses.
Give a politician a job; donít give him your country.
Last, but not least, VOTE.
It is your right and you owe it to your Country and your Island, in particular.
One note to all politicians.
We know who you are, so itís not necessary to see pictures on every lamp post along the streets
I would suggest that you donate the cost of your posters, etc. to a charitable foundation of your choice.
That will avoid the need for the clean up after the elections. This cleanup doesnít always take place.
Clifton R. Wilson
Daily Herald; †Jan 27 1998