Letter to editor: Budget your integrityPOSTED: 11/18/13 1:31 PM
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines integrity as follows: 1. Firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values – incorruptibility. 2. An unimpaired condition – soundness. 3. The quality or state of being complete or undivided – completeness.
Forget about definition 1 for now, let’s focus on definitions 2 and 3. An unimpaired condition – a state of being complete or undivided. There were some bombastic statements made in parliament where it pertains to the budget, a lot about the people that are suffering or some form thereof. Little content as it pertains to earlier concerns, lack of policy, no annual accounts etc., while these points are fixed in laws.
If those laws are not adhered to then we have an impaired condition. Hence, no budgetary integrity (as proven by the audit chamber in the meantime on the accounts of 2011). But we had bombastic speeches about people suffering and an emotional outpouring of empathy from those that rule for those that suffer and a cry that more must be done for those that suffer. So at least we are undivided here correct? Complete, here we at least have some integrity.
Now the budget is approved by those with empathy and by law it needs to be published. We finally get a glimpse under the skirt of bombast and rhetoric. Here as presented on the website of the government http://www.sintmaartengov.org/Laws/Pages/2013.aspx we find the budget that was approved. So, now in the fourth quarter of 2013 we have a budget 2013, whipped up by the National Alliance led government and hastily adjusted by the current government just to be able to say that we have an approved budget and avoid an instruction (same parliamentarians).
In this approved budget we can see that every minister costs “the poor suffering people of Sint Maarten” (as so many times empathetic referred to by our parliamentarians) more in 2013 than in 2012. All ministers received a raise and a cost of living adjustment.
Why does someone with compensation of over 300,000 guilders need a raise and a cost of living adjustment in times when “people are suffering, youths are unemployed and pensioners can’t meet their basic needs?” Are higher prices in the supermarket affecting him or her, like they affect someone with 24,000 guilders per year or even less? Don’t ask the ministers, ask your parliamentarians. For all the bombastic speeches, this is where they allocate taxpayer’s money. Not where it’s needed, those budgets got cut, some heavily. Innovation in Education: cut. Youth Affairs: cut. Minister’s salaries: up.
There go number 1 and 3 of the integrity definitions. For all the bombastic empathy expressed, there is no unity, because parliament will not allocate resources to priority areas first. They find they have more claim on that tax dollar than those that worked hard and were forced to pay it in. A wise man once asked: “What is your fair share of something you haven’t worked for?” As for the incorruptibility? Actions speak louder than words. The proof is in the budget. The moral obligation for doing what is right was not followed. Voter, beware! Next year is an election year, there will be an opportunity to right some wrongs and to “budget some integrity.” #sxmmovement
Soualiga Social Movement