Opinion: CondolencesPOSTED: 09/25/12 2:02 PM
The murder of Michael and Thelma King has made a deep impression, not only on ordinary citizens, but also on local politicians. The outpouring of condolences to family, friends and loved ones of the Kings by the prime minister, cabinet-members, COM-President Alain Richardson, and even the employer of the arrested suspect is unprecedented in St. Maarten’s history as we know it. Part of these messages is without any doubt genuine, but there is also another side to the story: the fear for a backlash against the islands tourism-economy.
Because the large-scale team of investigators – 25 strong according to a press release from the prosecutor’s office – managed to arrest a suspect so quickly, that backlash will most likely not materialize. But St. Maarten is sure getting its part of negative publicity in media in the United States, Canada, Europe and the wider Caribbean.
News broadcaster CNN and the Live5 TV-station from South Carolina both have approached this newspaper for information and we have given that to the best of our abilities, without falling in the cheap trap of rumor mongering that is so popular at undisciplined and unprincipled so-called news web sites on our island.
Comments on the story on the CNN website show that some Americans are still badmouthing Aruba about the Natalee Holloway disappearance from May 2005, but there are plenty of others who point out that in some American cities more people get murdered in a week than in a year in the Caribbean. (That would probably be true if one excluded Jamaica).
Anyway, the fallout from this grisly and horrible crime seems to be limited in terms of the economy.
That does not change the fact that two people who loved our island have lost their lives at the hands of a lunatic, or maybe even at the hands of more lunatics.
It is hard to imagine why anyone would want to murder two people in such a horrific way. If this was an ordinary robbery, the robbers could just have taken off with what they wanted and leave their victims alone.
If there is more to the story than meets the eye right now – well, we would not want to speculate about that, and we trust that when the investigation is completed and the suspect or suspects stand in front of our resident judge, the true facts about the case will become public knowledge. Until then there is little else to do that, indeed, extend condolences on behalf of the whole island to the family, friends and loved ones of Michael and Thelma King. For what it’s worth we add here the condolences on behalf of the Today Newspaper management and staff.