Opinion: Cutting expenditures

POSTED: 08/29/11 12:17 PM

National Alliance parliamentarian George Pantophlet has suggested levying toll at the border “to generate revenue for the governments of St. Maarten and Saint Martin.
Mind you, this is a suggestion, aired in the media, not a formal proposal brought to the floor of the Parliament. It is of course an idea that is dead in the water before it even qualifies for serious consideration.
Here we have a parliamentarian whom we know as a man who has always shown concern for the skyrocketing cost of living, especially high energy bills, food prices and what have you. And now this same parliamentarian wants to levy toll at the French-Dutch border?
We almost fell over backwards when we heard about the idea which struck us as setting the clock back a few hundred years to, say, March 22, 1648.
Why do politicians come up with such half-baked ideas? Surely, this will cost a lot of people a little bit of money every day. At the end of the year, they’ll discover that there is nothing left in their wallets to buy Christmas presents.
We don’t see our esteemed government erect toll gates on Union Road and A.T. Illidge Road at the Border Point project. What does MP Pantophlet want? Create more traffic jams? Or is the intent ion to install expensive electronic monitoring systems that enable motorists to pay as they pass? Who is going to pay for such a system and who is going to maintain it?
It is typical that politicians always come up with ideas to increase government revenue, but seldom with ideas to cut expenditures. We know that our government is wasteful, and we also know that no politician has ever stood up against this practice.
Let’s take a very simple example that everybody will understand: the cost of air conditioning. Everybody knows that the temperatures in most government offices are near freezing point. This goes for the government administration building on Clem Labega Square, it goes for the parliament building, it goes for the courthouse and it goes for the airport building – just to name a couple of projects.
Especially at the government administration building, wastefulness at the tax payer’s expense has been obvious for years. With temperatures in the Clause Wathey legislative Hall competing with igloos in Alaska, the door that leads outside often stands wide open. This has made us think that the government is not paying its utility-bills; apparently electricity does not cost anything for the government.
When we once asked then managing director drs. Eugène Holiday why temperatures in the airport terminal building were so low, he looked at us and calmly stated: “It is not cold here.”
Not cold huh? Well, the latest we here is that people who come to pick up friends or family from the airport no longer go into the terminal, or stay there as briefly as possible, because they cannot stand the freezing temperatures. We would love to see the monthly energy bill the airport has to pay.
At the courthouse, a judge recently told us that it was so cold in the building that he had opened a window to let in some warm air.
Who is crazy here? The country is cash-strapped, there is already a hole in the 2012 budget of unknown proportions, and in the meantime the people who are supposed to lead this country in the right direction and to get its finances in order, keep throwing money out of the window by way of their air conditioning systems as if there is no tomorrow.
Maybe MP Pantophlet could hire an expert to take stock of this wastefulness. We’re pretty sure that the result would be something like: you’re able to save 30 percent (give or take) on your energy bills if you keep them temperature at a steady 22 to 23 degrees. You will be able to make even bigger savings if you invest in proper insulation and other energy-saving measures.
This is only one example, and we are aware that there are many other ways the government and our politicians are wasting money that could be better spent elsewhere. When will the first politicians stand up and say something meaningful about cost cutting measures?

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