Good read! Critical analysis

We found this thesis online. Its written by Ms. Philipps. It’s a critical reflection on good governance en the perception of the people. based on the outcomes of the research done by Ms. Philipps we use her framework to analyse the governance of GEBE…

Nice work Ms. Philipps!

Summary and Highlights of the Thesis

Title: ‘Tis so politics here does go’: A Critical Reflection on How Citizens Perceive if the Small State Politics of Sint Maarten Aligns with Good Governance

Author: Danielle Philipps

Program: Bachelor of Communication Science, Faculty of Behavioral, Management and Social Science

Supervisor: Dr. M. van Vuuren

Date: June 26, 2020


Danielle Philipps reflects on the challenging yet rewarding process of writing the thesis, expressing gratitude to friends and advisors who supported her through this journey.

Theoretical Framework

The thesis investigates the concept of “good governance” and its significance for small states like Sint Maarten. It discusses the emergence of good governance in global politics, influenced by factors such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the fall of communism, globalization, and neoliberal economic reforms.


A phenomenological, qualitative research method was used, involving an open-ended questionnaire and structured interviews to explore citizens’ perceptions of Sint Maarten’s political climate. The data was analyzed using ATLAS.ti software, with a rigorous coding process to ensure reliability and validity.

Key Findings

  1. Political Climate: The research reveals that Sint Maarten’s political climate is characterized by executive dominance, lack of professionalism, financial dependence on the government, and a polarized political environment. This results in political tribalism and weak opposition, which undermines democratic processes.
  2. Governance Principles:
  • Transparency: While some level of transparency exists, it is often unethical and inadequate. There is a perceived need for more genuine transparency to increase public trust and support.
  • Integrity: Respondents view political integrity negatively, associating it with corruption and self-serving behavior among politicians. The lack of accountability exacerbates this issue.
  • Accountability: The system lacks mechanisms for holding elected officials accountable, leading to political instability and frequent elections.
  • Participation: There is a general perception that parliamentary elections are driven by self-interest rather than public service, and there is a need for better representation and engagement.
  1. Citizen Responsibility: The study highlights that the public also shares responsibility for the current state of governance due to low political engagement and accountability.


The thesis discusses how small state politics in Sint Maarten are marked by particularistic relationships, social pressures, and a lack of neutrality in institutions. These factors contribute to a skewed political system where government decisions are not effectively checked by other branches of government or civil society.

Practical Implications

The research aims to empower Sint Maarten citizens to realize their democratic power and push for long-term political change. It suggests that raising awareness and creating a sense of urgency among citizens can drive improvements in governance.

Recommendations for Future Research

Future studies could compare the governance systems of Sint Maarten with other small island states, particularly the French part of Saint Martin, to gain more insights into effective governance and integrity systems. Historical institutionalism could also provide a deeper understanding of the political dynamics in small states.

The thesis concludes that while there is a degree of national pride preventing complete disillusionment with the democratic system, significant improvements in transparency, accountability, and citizen engagement are necessary for achieving good governance in Sint Maarten.

This study provides a comprehensive examination of the perceptions of governance in Sint Maarten, highlighting the challenges and suggesting pathways for future improvements.

Our analysis: Factors Contributing to the Mismanagement of GEBE Energy Company

The thesis by Danielle Philipps identifies several factors contributing to the mismanagement of various institutions in Sint Maarten, including the energy company GEBE. Here are the key factors identified in the thesis that relate to the failure of GEBE due to mismanagement:

  1. Lack of Transparency:
  • Transparency in governance is often insufficient and unethical. This lack of genuine transparency leads to poor public trust and support, contributing to the mismanagement of public entities like GEBE.
  1. Corruption and Integrity Issues:
  • There is a widespread perception of corruption and self-serving behavior among politicians and public officials. The absence of accountability mechanisms allows these corrupt practices to continue unchecked, which likely extends to the management of GEBE .
  1. Ineffective Governance:
  • Public funds are not efficiently utilized, and there are frequent allegations of misallocation. This mismanagement of resources directly impacts the operations of public services, including GEBE. For instance, funds meant for essential services are often squandered on non-priority projects .
  1. Lack of Accountability:
  • The governance system lacks robust mechanisms to hold officials accountable for their actions. This results in political instability and frequent changes in government, which disrupts consistent policy implementation and oversight necessary for the proper management of companies like GEBE .
  1. Political Influence and Tribalism:
  • The political environment is highly polarized and marked by executive dominance and political tribalism. This means decisions are often made based on political alliances rather than the best interest of the public or the efficient management of companies like GEBE .
  1. Public Disengagement:
  • Citizens often feel disempowered and disengaged from the political process. This lack of public pressure and oversight allows mismanagement to persist without significant pushback or demand for reform .
  1. Personalistic and Clientelist Politics:
  • The political culture in Sint Maarten is heavily influenced by personal relationships and clientelism. This means that positions and resources, including those in GEBE, may be allocated based on favoritism rather than merit, leading to inefficient and corrupt management practices .

These factors create an environment where mismanagement can thrive, ultimately leading to the failure of institutions like the GEBE energy company. Addressing these issues requires comprehensive reforms to improve transparency, accountability, and public engagement in the governance process.