All posts by Annemieke

Climate change

Should Statians care about climate change?

Climate change has increasingly been in the news with the release of the UN’s climate reports and the ongoing documentary on Showtime. Does this matter to Statians?

It does. Climate change is already affecting us in many ways and will continue to affect us, our children and our grandchildren for many generations to come. There are both direct effects and indirect effects.

Climate change includes a rising sea level, change in rainfall and hurricanes and change in the underwaterworld 

Direct effects include rising sea levels that may eventually destroy Lower Town, where our power station, water plant and port are located. Other direct effects may change our rainfall, increase the Sahara dust and change the paths and strength of hurricanes, although there is no clear answer yet as to exactly what the effect on hurricanes will be. The beautiful corals that attract scuba divers to our waters may gradually die as the ocean warms and becomes more acid. Ocean changes are also likely to affect the fish.

Price of imported food will go up

The indirect effects may be more important to us than the direct effects. Part of Statia’s food is imported from the U.S., and the western U.S. has been experiencing increasing drought. Some ranchers have sold their herds and farmers have given up planting crops because there isn’t enough water. Climate change is expected to gradually make this situation worse. This raises the price of the imported food we eat. Other food exporting countries like Brazil are likely to be similarly affected in years to come.

Effects of increased price of fossil fuels

Another indirect effect comes from efforts by the large nations to slow climate change by increasing the price of fossil fuels. We will experience this in increased prices of gasoline, gasoil and electricity, increased shipping costs and increased prices of things that require a lot of energy to produce like concrete, steel, plastics, paint, and automobiles. NuStar’s business could be affected, and NuStar is our largest private employer. As fuel prices rise, so will air fares and this affects tourism.

But what can we do about this anyway?

We can and should do two things. We should plan for the changes so that they do us as little harm as possible. This is called  “mitigation” in climate change jargon. And we should do our part to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

Move valuable assets to higher ground

What mitigation is needed? The Dutch are the world’s experts in dealing with the sea. We should ask them for help in  preparing an assessment of the effects of climate change on Statia, and the appropriate mitigation. The plan should look at the likely effects of rising sea level on lower town and consider alternatives such as moving valuable assets to higher ground or building seawalls to protect the assets where they stand.

Who should pay for mitigation? This is a contentious topic in climate change meetings, but the general principle seems  to be that the rich countries that are mostly responsible for putting the greenhouse gasses into the air should pay for the damage that they will cause.  This is a topic our local government should raise with the Netherlands.

Renewable energy for our electricity needs

How can we Statians reduce our greenhouse gas emissions? Many ideas have been published for reducing emissions but not all of them apply to Statia. One that does is converting to renewable energy for our electricity needs as much as is possible, and we should do everything we can to encourage STUCO’s plans in that direction. Another idea that works for Statia is to use local food and other local products instead of imported products whenever we can, to reduce the fuel burned in shipping.

Our present cars need care, we need public transportation

An idea that doesn’t work well for us is switching to smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. If we must buy a car, of course, a small and fuel-efficient one is better. But it takes about 100 barrels of oil equivalent to make a new car, which is enough gasoline to drive perhaps 100,000 miles. Few cars here will last long enough to drive that far, so fuel savings can never pay back the oil equivalent needed to make the new car. We do better by keeping our present cars in good repair for as long as possible. We can also plan our days so that we make as few car trips as   possible and walk when we can. If we had some public transportation so that we needed fewer cars, that would be even better.

George  Works

On advancement in salary

Via the mailingservice info@statianews.com, a discussion was followed by the readers about the advancement in salary Mr. Tearr was given. Last island councilmeeting that was the hottest topic. Below the comment Jean Marie Molina has pertaining the matter.

Dear editor,

Please allow me to comment on the issue discussed in both comments sent in by the Misters Simmons.

I think all involved should stop treating the situation  as if it is a matter of life and death.
The questions  that in my
opinion that need to be asked are:

1. Was the advancement legal? As in permissible by law.
2. Was the commissioner eligible for this loan? Or advancement  or whatever it is called
3. Were proper arrangements made for the government to be paid back? As in when,  how many (monthly) installments?

If the questions are not answered to the satisfaction of the council,  then additional steps need to be taken. So,  that within a reasonable  amount of time this matter can be done with!

I for one,  cannot understand why every matter debated by the representatives must be reduced to sarcasm, mockery, name calling, mud slinging, (subtle)insults and character assassination.
Why can’t we simply have clean debates with everyone sharing their version of the truth?

Also let us simply be honest. All parties wish to be elected.  So there is also a personal gain involved.  I understand that.  I understand the need for tactics as well as the need to impress certain viewpoints on the voters mind. However, if our leaders were living up to their mandate these shenanigans would never be necessary!

What I do not understand is why this particular issue.  It is important,  but it is not first priority  to drag on the debate on the matter.  Say you agree or disagree  and why.  And simply move on to the next also utterly  important  issue. Please stop your own and everyone else’s  time and get to work!

You want to be (re)elected then show the people what you have done for Statia. Tell them how your actions and those of your counterparts have made the island livable, comfortable, and worthwhile for all inhabitants.
Show them you are doing your utmost to better the current state of affairs. Your track record can and should speak for you.

Let me close with a personal note to the brothers Simmons.  There is much potential in both of you.  You may stand at the opposite end of a spectrum.  However, you both are Statia’s diaspora. I have read various of your articles of the past years. Quite frankly I expect more and better of both of you! I am counting on the both of you to be the leaders I know you are.  Remember,  Statia  needs YOU! Statia has no time to waste.  Do better!! I know you can!!

Jean Marie Molina
Aka Buster’s & Theresa’s daughter 🙂

A letter to the Statian Child

A letter to the Statian child

Drs. Jean Marie Molina

 

Hello child of Statia,

How are you? I hope my words find you in the best of health and happiness! Today I would like to make time to tell you some very important things. I know you might be wondering, who I am, and why I chose to write this letter to you. But, who I am is not important. What really matters is who you are.

Child of Statia who are you? When I ask you this question I do not mean who is your father or mother, where you were born or what your nationality is.  I want to know who you are inside. I want to know what your dreams are. What you wish to become in life, and why. What makes you smile and laugh? I even want to know what makes you cry. More importantly, you need to know these things about yourself. If you know who you are, then you know what you can do, and where you can go in life.

Child of Statia, I want you to know that you are amazing. You are a gift to your parents and the world. You are special. You have the right to be happy. To think your own thoughts. To share your opinions with others and to stand up for what you believe in.

Child of Statia, I want you to know that you are intelligent. You often understand the world far better than us adults do. You know things, many things, and you must be proud of what you know. When you do not know, ask questions. Continue to ask them until the answers you get satisfy you. Adults don’t know everything but they know a lot you can learn from them and they can learn from you

Child of Statia, you are good enough. Just as you are. You were made perfectly. There is nothing wrong with you. Being different in whatever way means simply that: different. There is no good or bad when it comes to being who you are. Be yourself! That is the one thing that only you can do. So do it to the best of your ability.

Child of Statia, having an education is important. It starts with getting good grades. Studying and applying yourself is good for you! Do you sometimes get angry? Do adults do things that you do not agree with, or that you feel you can do better? Do you disagree with the decisions our leaders make? Then go to school, study hard, do your best. And then, when you are grown, and even know you can change things. You have the power to create your own destiny. But first you must understand the world. Having an education will help you do that. It will open doors you could never imagine it would. It will take you places, you never knew existed. It will help turn your dreams into reality. It will help you become who you are meant to be. So please go to school and stay there until your task is done!

Child of Statia, do not be afraid. Fear paralyzes people. It stops them from doing what they know is right. You must always do what is right, because it is right. Doing the right thing helps you and those whom you care about. It makes the world a better place. Do not worry about those who may tease you. Who may mock you. Remember this, them teasing you shows their fear of you and what you can do. They can see your potential. If they can see it, that shows how great it is.  Never let them win. Never let them break your spirit. Use their words, their negativity to push yourself forward. Stand up for what you believe in no matter what.

Child of Statia, we all make mistakes. Adults make them all the time, and so will you. But never let your mistakes or the mistakes of others define you. Let people’s words remain words. Their words never have to become your reality. If you have done something wrong. If others constantly say your name with scorn. Prove them all wrong, by picking up and pressing on.

Child of Statia, sex can wait. There will come a time when your body and mind will change. You will feel many strange and wonderful things. Nothing is wrong with those things or you.  But, you may be too young to understand and deal with these things the right way. Do not let your curiosity and the urges of your body decide for or control you. Sometimes your mind will play tricks on you, and that could get you into situations you are not ready for. Instead talk to someone you know you can trust. Be responsible for yourself and your behaviour. All actions have consequences so weigh your actions well.

Child of Statia, I believe in you! I believe in the power that rests deep in your soul. I believe that you can be your very best. I believe that you can change your home, your school, your church, your island, your world! There is much potential in you. It will only come out if you allow it to. Believe in yourself. Have faith in what you can do. Because you can do it. You can be what you were called to be. I expect nothing less from you. You should never accept anything less of yourself.

Child of Statia, I love you……

Child of Statia, I hope to hear from you. Feel free to contact me and tell me about your journey to greatness; callipaedia@gmail.com.

Editorial in Dutch: Evalueren

Stel, je runt een kroeg. Op een gegeven moment besluit je met zijn allen dat alles anders moet. Er komt nieuwe eigenaar, extra personeel, ander kassasysteem, nieuwe leveranciers, nieuwe regels, alles in de hoop dat de kroeg beter gaat lopen.

De plannen liggen al klaar en na een korte voorbereidingstijd, waarin de zwakke plekken (afvalverwerking, opleiding bestaand personeel) alvast wat ondersteuning krijgen, gaat het roer om.

Spannend!

Wat doe je dan aan het eind van iedere avond? Je bespreekt de avond met zijn allen. Wat doe je dan iedere ochtend? Je praat met elkaar of er niets iets te verbeteren valt.

St. Eustatius, is net als de hierboven beschreven kroeg, ook van eigenaar veranderd.

Dat is al bijna 5 jaar geleden. Ze hadden afgesproken om na vijf jaar de nieuwe status te evalueren. Nu, na vier jaar is afgesproken dat het advies van de Raad van State hierover opgevolgd gaat worden.

Ik hoop dat het eiland zich daarop voobereid heeft. We weten wel alvast dat de RCN niet goed functioneerd, dat er niet goed gecommuniceerd wordt en dat de Rijksvertegenwoordiger zijn taak niet goed heeft vervuld. Of taken van die functie veranderd moeten worden heb ik nog niet over gehoord.

Wanneer komt een evaluatierapport van de lokale overheid?

Annemiek

 

 

 

Nederlandse stukje van de editor Annemiek “Niet lullen, maar poetsen!”

Ik lees dat Dhr. Zaandam, die constitutionele zaken in zijn portefeuille heeft en in de commissie die de evaluatie aan het voorbereiden is, op de televisie in het programma “Talking Blues” heeft gezegd dat St. Eustatius te kampen heeft met een “democratic deficit”.

Ik ga ervan uit dat Zaandam hiermee bedoeld dat de mensen op St. Eustatius niet genoeg te stemmen hebben: ze worden niet ten volle gerepresenteerd op de een of andere manier.

De mensen op St. Eustatius kunnen meedoen met de Tweede Kamerverkiezingen, ze stemmen dus mee wat voor centrale regering Nederland krijgt.  De mensen op St. Eustatius kunnen ook meedoen met de lokale verkiezingen, ze doen dat niet tegelijk met de Nederlandse gemeenteraadsverkiezingen, maar tegelijk met de Provinciale verkiezingen in Nederland.

De reden waarom de eilanden tegelijk hun lokale verkiezingen hebben als de provinciale staten in Nederland, weet ik niet.

Ik weet wel dat er een soort democratisch deficit is bij de Provinciale verkiezingen. We zouden recht moeten hebben op een stem bij de Provinciale verkiezingen, maar wij horen niet bij een Provincie.

Het ingewikkelde staatkundige stelsel van Nederland met een Eerste en een Tweede kamer, heeft als regel dat de leden van de Provinciale Staten kiezen voor de Eerste kamerleden. De burgers kiezen die leden van de Provinciale Staten, getrapte verkiezingen.

Bij ons kiezen de commissioners voor de Eerste kamerleden heb ik begrepen. Dat is raar, want wij hebben die commissioners daar niet voor aangewezen, we hebben niet een nieuwe verkiezing gehad.

We missen dus eigenlijk een verkiezing: die van de Provinciale Staten.

Ik zou zeggen: daar zijn twee oplossingen voor. Of we gaan deel uitmaken van een Provincie in Nederland, of we maken onze eigen Provincie.

We hebben wel een bestuurslaag tussen het lokale bestuur en de Nederlandse regering, want we hebben een Rijksvertegenwoordiger.

Ik pleit ervoor dat de volgende Rijksvertegenwoordiger een raad krijgt waar de BES burgers voor kunnen stemmen. Evenredig met het aantal inwoners van de verschillende eilanden. Twee van Saba, twee van Statia en vier van Bonaire. Deze mensen controleren de Rijksvertegenwoordiger. De Rijksvertegenwoordiger krijgt echte Provinciale taken. Zij of hij  heeft het overzicht over de energiemaatschappijen, vliegvelden en havens en is betrokken bij veiligheid.

Als ook mensen die in Nederland wonen op de kieslijsten kunnen staan, zou dat het democratische deficit totaal schoonpoetsen.

Nogmaals, ik ben geen staatkundige, het is maar een idee.

Ik ben ook geen Rotterdammer, anders zou ik zeggen: “Niet lullen, maar poetsen!!”

 

 

 

How to get the education system to work for the Statian child: A pedagogical perspective.

Drs.  Jean Marie Molina

Introduction

St. Eustatius stands yet again at a historical breaking point. The continuing low (academic) achievement of children has forced the community at large to take a critical look at the core of its educational system. Current debates center on a possible change of the language of instruction from Dutch to English. However both supporters and critics agree that change must come if the Statian child is going to succeed (academically). This contribution does not focus on the discussion of the language of instruction. Instead, the author has chosen to highlight the dilemmas in the education system from a pedagogical or rather child-centered point of view. The aim: to focus on aspects that have an equal if not more profound effect on academic performance than the language of instruction. First off this article deals with the influence of parents, followed by the community and educators.  It will end with some conclusive remarks and recommendations on how to the improve the current situation.

The role of parents

Ultimately parents are responsible for their child’s development. Various research outcomes as well as community studies have shown that parenting practice has a strong influence on a child’s life.  Parents are also their child’s first teacher. Children are born with an almost instinctive need to acquire knowledge. From the moment their eyes are open, they are constantly seeking new ways to learn and grow. Within the first five years of its life, a child makes an incredible learning journey.  Most child psychologists, parenting experts and educationists agree that these first five years of a child’s life are of vital importance to its future development. In these years, children learn to know themselves, their surroundings and their community. They learn rules of socially acceptable behavior. They also internalize the cultural norms and values, presented to them by their parents.

A child’s attitude towards learning is an aspect that is  strongly influenced by parental practices. In other words, parents are the ones who teach their children whether learning is something positive or negative. Something to love or something to be shunned.  Parents are also responsible for creating a home environment that is beneficial to learning. By providing their children with (educational) toys and books as well as having discussions, going on excursions, and exploring nature, parents instill in children the necessity of seeking knowledge and understanding the world in which they live.  Such experiences prove vital when children attend school. When brought up in homes where learning is spontaneous and natural, children do better academically than their  peers  whose home environment is less stimulating.

Parents’ belief systems also have great impact on how well their child does in school.  Fan and Chen (1999) found that parental aspiration or expectation for education achievement are strongly related to academic achievements. This means that whether a child does well in school depends to a large extent on whether their parents want or expect them to succeed. The relationship between these two factors is a logical one. Children usually want to please their parents.

In their early years they learn that doing what makes their parents happy, makes them happy too. So if their parents provide them with an home environment  where learning is seen as something important, expect them to accept this as a given fact and to do well in school, they will.

The influence that parents have on their child’s learning experience does not stop there. In his study Jeynes (2005) found that parental involvement is related to all academic variables.  He states that parents’ behaviour, belief systems and attitudes help determine how well their child does in various subjects, as well as their cognitive development during school.  Parents who raise their children in a loving, and  rich learning environment are investing in their child’s scholastic success.

The role of the community

Not all children are raised in loving and healthy environments. Some children grow up in a home environment that is stressful.  Common factors within a stressful home environments include domestic violence, low verbal and social interactions, physical and psychological abuse and neglect. These factors cause stress in children, and subsequently hamper academic achievement. However, such situations need not limit the child’s learning experience nor outcome.  A study published in 1996 by the Journal of Negro Education found that African-American high school seniors were able to achieve in school despite stress factors in their home and social environment .The key lay in the development of resilience. Resilience refers to a child’s ability to cope with and overcome hurdles in its development. In the case of the African American students three factors significantly influenced their resilience. Two of which will be discussed here.  First, “interaction with and involvement of committed, concerned adults and educators in their life”. Second, “the development of two personality traits: perseverance and optimism”.

When a child has access to persons who care for him or her and who can take over the nurturing role in their life, they develop resiliency. If we were to extrapolate  the findings of this report to the Statian context we could draw the same conclusions. In order for the Statian child who faces stress factors in the home environment to become resilient he needs concerned adults and educators in his life. This is where the community plays its biggest role. When members of the community open up their homes, and make it possible for a child to have a safe place where it can be itself they are investing in that child’s future.  Through (after) school projects, extracurricular activities and a general environment of warmth and acceptance, the community acts as a net which catches and launches the falling child back into its rightful place. The Statian child needs adults who are willing to work with him or her, to teach and lead preferably by example.

Besides this it is also important for children to be taught perseverance and optimism.  The  modern world we live in, teaches children to seek instant gratification. If they want something, they should have it immediately. This approach has caused that many children have not learned the importance of perseverance. Of not giving up, but rather keeping at something diligently until it bares fruit. Success in school or anywhere else requires long and hard work. When children live in a world surrounded by adults with a sound work ethic, they learn that almost everything is worth it in the long run. When the government and leaders are dedicated to their tasks and they work at it with all their might, constantly keeping their eyes on the desired results, they teach perseverance by example. The same goals are achieved when leaders remain optimistic despite things not always going their way. If they believe in a cause, and work for it,  it shows character and determination. But more importantly, it instills soundness of character in our children. A trait they will need if they are ever to be (academically) successful.

The role of the Teacher

There is a constant discussion on whether teachers have a child raising duty. However, whether we may want to accept it or not, teachers play an important role in a child’s learning, growth, and  development. Teachers share knowledge of the world with children. They are in a position to form a child’s mind. They are often role models to their students and as such are looked to for help and guidance.  In order for a teacher to educate a child, he or she must genuinely care for and be interested in that child’s welfare.  Children, especially young ones are very intuitive and can sense how adults feel about them. The feedback they receive when they read their teacher is what will ultimately decide if and to what extent they open up themselves to them. A teacher who is generally concerned about a child helps it to be academically successful. When a teacher believes a child can learn, it is reflected in his or her attitude, behavior and speech towards the child.  A child who feels his or her teacher cares about him, is empowered, feels capable and  does better in school.

How do these factors improve Statia’s education System?

Educating a child is a cooperative task. It only yields fruits when all stakeholders in a child’s life work together towards the goal of development and (academic) success.  The relationship between parents, the community and educators forms the foundation of a sound education system. It provides the perfect nesting ground for (academic) excellence. Parents, who love their children and are concerned about their welfare, will be involved within the community and their child’s school. They have an open and trusting relationship with the teachers. They are aware of their child’s needs and make the necessary adjustments in the home environment to ensure that those needs are met. The same goes for the community and for teachers. A community that cares about its children makes sure it is a safe place for them to live in. Adult interactions with children are tainted with warmth and appreciation. Policies are in place to make sure that children are afforded many learning opportunities. Community programs are culturally relevant and focused on enhancing the child’s sense of value and belonging. The community must also take care of and respect the child’s parents. Parents who feel accepted and supported by the members of the community are less stressed. They know they can count on the support of their families, loved ones, other concerned adults and the community at large when they need them. This stimulates their belief in themselves and their ability to properly raise their child.

The same goes for teachers and schools. If children in Statia are to do well in school, there must be good quality teaching material, which takes into account ethnic diversity and the cultural background of the child. The curriculum must not be only aimed at gaining formal knowledge. But must also include tacit knowledge. There must be room for the development of a positive identity, self-image and self-esteem. The Statian child must know where he comes from so that he can decide what his place is to be in the world. Teachers must be loving, patient, determined, optimistic and when necessary critical. Their job is to point out to parents where there is need for improvement while simultaneously working with parents to bring about the improvement in question.

To do this,  teachers need professionalization trajectories that are school based and school focused. Education leaders must be well seasoned in didactics. In laymen’s terms: they must know what they are doing. But more importantly they must care about what they are doing. Teachers need the support of good quality and well placed education policies to ensure that they can do their job the way it needs to be done. They also need a support system where they can raise their grievances as well as gain support  to implement their education programs.

Conclusive remarks.

If the education system of Statia is to work for the Statian child it needs to be overhauled. The need for overhaul is not to undo the works of others but rather to fortify and expand the foundation. All parties who play a major role in the child’s welfare must work together in pursuit of what should be their common goal: a bright future for Statia’s child.  Each child in Statia is unique and different.  This uniqueness must be imbedded into the education system if it is to work for him or her.  There must be support and a profound willingness to work together present in all parties. The dynamics of the Statian culture must be taken into consideration when the curriculum is constructed.  The Statian child must know himself if he is to know the world. Cultural identity and cultural context are very necessary in the curriculum, as they contribute significantly to learning experiences and success.. Besides formal knowledge, the curriculum must  teach personality traits such as perseverance, optimism, positive self-esteem and a  positive self-image.

The task may seem daunting but it need not be. Statia has a rich diaspora as well as a vast amount of unused resources which can be consulted and pooled to support and provide relevant expertise and implementation. Men and women willing to invest their talent, to ensure (academic) success for Statia’s children.  A good start on the road to creating a tailor made education system which sufficiently prepares the Statian child for his  or her place in the world could be an educational convention where all stake holders, as well as other interested persons                                     come together to discuss, decide and plan  how the education system in Statia should be constructed, and what the role of each stakeholder should be. Simultaneously the subject of the language of instruction can be dealt with. Thereby ensuring a holistic approach to the various bottlenecks in the present  education system. By coming together, with an attitude of optimism and perseverance, all major stakeholders can invest and protect the best of Statia; it’s children.

(Jean Marie Molina was born and raised on Statia, has studied child development at the University of Leiden and works as coordinator “praktijkgestuurd leren” at the “Hogeschool Rotterdam”, she is married and has two children.)

 

Statia, nepotism and lack of transparency

By Koos Sneek

Date: February 25 2014

The signals are there that the coalition on Statia, consisting of the UPC party and independent council members Lijfrock and Merkman is sailing in rough water. While there are so many urgent pending matters to deal with, the activities that are coming to light lately mostly seem to have to do with private matters such as bonuses to political cronies, salary advances to elected officials, extensive travel patterns of commissioner Tearr surrounded by a lack of transparency and securing of positions within government of political appointees after the elections to be held in March 2015.

 

To continue, individuals are hired by government on a so-called aankoopbon as such avoiding the requirement in the WOLBES that the Kingdom Representative is to approve the appointments. Taxes are not withheld from the income of these individuals, while it is also unclear if these persons have a properly registered business, a business license, a registration at the tax department and are paying their taxes. Also at no time these jobs are advertised, allowing others to apply, or given out for public bids allowing Statia companies to bid on them. There can be nothing against persons getting jobs, including those who are having the jobs now, or companies getting contracts but government has to follow transparent and open procedures.

 

Rumors are that documents are forged by the executive assistant to one of the commissioners in her own benefit. The commissioner responsible for personnel affairs denies that the executive council has taken certain official decisions on personnel appointments or he is at least not aware of this. Executive council decisions are taken without the underlying documents such as the advice from the personnel department or the responsible director. How can this happen? A very big question mark needs to be placed by the role of the acting island secretary in all of this. This functionary is responsible for the preparation of all documents to be handled by the executive council. Why did she overlook this? Why did she not properly inform the executive council members? Or did she?

 

What is the role of the three council members, who are supporting this government? Are they aware of this wheeling and dealing and are they condoning it? A few coalition meetings are held and we learned that it did not go well. But one can imagine that they are in a jam. Do they have to get rid of a crony who falsifies documents, or reprimand an acting island secretary, who is a family member? Can they risk for the government to fall? What are the alternatives? The DP back in government? This of course needs to be avoided at all cost. Should they seek the support from Franklin, who has already expressed his desire to see Clyde return as commissioner? I doubt most of them see that as a good idea either. And whose head then has to role? Zaandam, Tearr or maybe both?

 

The meetings of the Central Committee are finally open for the public. It can be noticed that now the practice is being used to decide that some matters are discussed in this committee behind closed doors. Recently the agenda point on the IND was discussed behind closed doors. On Thursday February 27 the agenda point on the fiber optic cable will also be dealt with behind closed doors. No explanation as why these matters are so sensitive that they need to be dealt with behind closed doors. What is all this secrecy about? I can remember that I heard the commissioners mention, when they entered government, that transparency was to be their trademark. The case around the fiber optic cable has regularly been in the media, loads of questions are publicly asked in the second chamber and answers are given by the minister, yet our representatives apparently are of the opinion that it is in our own interest to prevent the public to hear what they are discussing about these topics. The subject with the IND was an informative meeting whereby representatives from this service were to answer questions from the members of the island council. Why was there a need for secrecy to decide to discuss this agenda point behind closed doors? What has happened with the professed transparency?

 

To be continued….

 

 

Honestly

In this blog I want to share personal observations. The first observation is Hemmie van Xanten. He lives on Saba, is director of the secondary school there and is building a boutique hotel, he is already half way and business is running. What do I like about him? He wants to stay. He wants to build a legacy of what he did with that school and how he set up that hotel. He has made Saba his home.

Statia needs directors and teachers like that.

The other observation was a close by observation of my husband. He taught history at the Gwendoline van Putten for 4 and 5 Havo. In the year we came, the 4havo (tweede fase bovenbouw) started for the first time. He is a history teacher and thought he was going to teach history. I don’t remember how it went, I think they also spoke about “maatschappijleer” and “aardrijkskunde”, but they never mentioned “afdelingsleider”. When he came to the island it was decided he had to give those three subjects and be the afdelingsleider of the havo.

I think I can speak for all of the havo 4 en havo 5 children who had him as history teacher that they learned a lot from Mr. Kusters. I think that when they grow old, the first thing they remember about Mr. Kusters is that he taught them about Martin Luther King and the black power movement. He talked with them about slavery and he let them discover their roots in a portfolio they had to make.

The lessons my husband gave, were in English. He had to talk English to reach to the children and have them clearly understand what he is saying.

Unfortunately things went wrong in the school. The same things that repeat itself, year after year. If my husband would have given the respect and freedom he needed, he would have stayed on the island. He always said this job was the most interesting job he had ever had. He liked the students.

What happened to my husband, also happened to my husband. There are many students who will have good memories of both Mr. Kusters and Mr. Kerkhoff. These men spoke English fluently as if it was their mothertongue. That really helped a lot!

I hope next time the board is more carefull with people’s abilities. See them for what they are and use the strength. You need to be very intelligent to do that. I think each member of the board might have some sort of intelligence, but not the intelligence for managing talents of people and help them grow. And also not the intelligence to understand what children need. Maybe some of them have, but as a functioning board, they do not. There has to be a radical move to change this and that only happens when good teachers stay on the island.

Venezuela Analyse van Jacob Gelt Dekker

Van Facebook:

De oorzaak van het conflict in Venezuela is een dramatisch gebrek aan productiviteit, waardoor de consumptie zeer sterk onder druk staat. Het ontbreekt nu zelfs aan alle primaire levensbehoeftes. Het is alleen op te lossen door de landbouw en industrie opnieuw op poten te zetten en de olieproductie weer op niveau te brengen. De mensen moeten massaal aan het werk.
De laatste 14 jaar zijn er grote sociale programma’s opgezet, waardoor   miljoenen inwoners, de armen volgens Chavez, nu allemaal  uitkeringen ontvangen,  gratis woningen, onderwijs en gezondheidszorg krijgen; het was een schoon streven. Maar deze enorme staats rekening  werd betaald met de gelddruk machine, toen de olieproductie sterk achterbleef, en al evenmin  door de rest van de economie, die steeds verder kromp door verwaarlozingen en nationalisaties.
Ondanks de officiële cijfers, die een vertekend beeld geven door de olieproductie, kromp alle andere industrie buiten de olie,  steeds verder. De landbouw, die grotendeels werd genationaliseerd leverde al snel niets meer op en de haciënda’s stonden er snel totaal verwaarloosd bij. Alles werd verwacht van het zwarte goud, de olie industrie.
De roofbouw, die gepleegd werd op de petroleum industrie resulteerde snel in grote rampen, zoals raffinaderij branden,  door slecht onderhoud.  De ingehuurde buitenlandse bedrijven voor de Orinoco exploratie en exploitatie werden niet betaald en vertrokken.
De Bolivar Forte, het betaalmiddel van Venezuela, werd nu door de Staat in sneltreinvaart gedrukt om de lokale tekorten op de begroting,  mee te financieren. De BF  heeft daardoor, met een inflatie van 58%, haar waarde snel verloren.
Inflatie en wisselkoersen zijn onlosmakelijk met elkaar verbonden. De grenswissel markten noteren vandaag 85BF voor 1 US $, terwijl de officiële koers nog 6 BF is.  De BF heeft dus 90% van haar waarde verloren op de internationale markt. Importen, waaronder 80% van alle levensbehoeftes, bleken snel onbetaalbaar, luchtvaartmaatschappijen kregen geen dollars voor hun tickets, vrachtvaart bleef ook met een enorme rekening zitten en de olietechnologie aanleveringsbedrijven voor onderhoud, kwamen niet meer langs. Olie productie, die  nu nog geen 2 miljoen vaten per dag is ( het was eens 5.6 miljoen), en bovendien, 30% van de olie  wordt weggegeven voor US $ 40 aan bevriende Petro Caribische landen, kan de import van levensbehoeftes-rekening niet langer betalen.  De lokale landbouw en industrie productie staan nagenoeg geheel stil. Het probleem is alleen op te lossen door massaal aan het werk te gaan.
Het maakt niet uit of het opnieuw opstarten van de industrie  nu onder een communistische dictatuur, of onder kapitalisme plaatsvindt, beide ideologie staan voor deze taak en hebben geen keuze.
Het is niet waarschijnlijk dat dit gebeurt, de partijen klampen zich fanatiek vast aan hun eigen ideologie en een gevecht op leven en dood is ontstaan.  Een bekrompen tunnelvisie, gepaard met grootste kretologie, van spelers en medespelers, lijkt de toon van de dag te dicteren. Daardoor  is het waarschijnlijk, dat een nog verdere  neerwaartse spiraalgang  zal plaatsvinden.
Nu zal men eerst, op grote schaal, een maatschappij zien ontstaan, waarin de sterkste het recht heeft en zegeviert. Bandieten, met en zonder uniform, en met zwaar geschut, nemen alle rechten in handen; roof, moord en doodslag zijn aan de orde van de dag. Smokkelaars aan de grenzen en fraudeurs staan vooraan om de laatste restjes geld en goederen zich toe te eigenen.
En, uiteindelijk, wanneer de consumptie bijna geheel is uitgeput, is een stroom van vluchtelingen onvermijdelijk.
Het wederopbouw proces zal jaren  duren, en het startkapitaal zal door de internationale gemeenschap op tafel moeten komen. Ach, we hebben dit patroon al zo vele malen kunnen aanschouwen.

Blues Oddysee

I am watching a documentary “Blues Oddysee” with Bill Wyman, not that I sit besides Bill Wyman watching it, but he is one of the key persons that gets interviewed. Bill Wyman, bass player of “the greatest Rock n Roll band on earth”, the Rolling Stones. For the Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry was their most important inspiration, they wanted to be like him. Bill Wyman has a lot of knowledge of the origins of the blues. Some one said about Chuck Berry’s songs:  “They are little vignets of his life”, descriptions of what happened to him and those are the kinds of songs the Rolling Stones also tried to make.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcblXxc4oqo

Chuck Berry singing: “You can’t catch me” 1956

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This Odyssee of the blues starts during slavery, in the Mississipi delta, where the slaved people had to find a way to cope with their misery. Bill Wyman talks about his attraction to that music: “In whatever mood your in, when you listen to the blues, you get to feel good. It always makes you feel good.” (I have to check if that is the exact quote of what he said)

The blues travels to a lot of places and an Odyssee of the Blues promises rare footage and interesting storytelling.