Where’s the Governor, a humble opinion…

The Role of the Governor of Sint Maarten Amid the Emerging Energy Crisis: A Call for Visible Leadership

As Sint Maarten grapples with an emerging energy crisis, the role of the Governor comes into sharp focus. Despite having limited formal powers, the Governor, as the head of state, holds a symbolic position that can offer reassurance and solidarity to the people, much like the King of the Netherlands during times of national distress. However, recent observations suggest a disconnect between the Governor’s priorities and the pressing issues faced by the citizens of Sint Maarten.

A perusal of the Governor’s Facebook page reveals a focus on hosting private events for the elite, such as the Governor’s Symposium on the Transatlantic Slave Trade and opulent King’s Day celebrations, rather than addressing the immediate concerns of the populace. This perceived lack of engagement with the current crisis has not gone unnoticed, leading to questions about the Governor’s commitment to his constituents during these challenging times.

Historically, the role of the Governor has been largely ceremonial, with real political power residing in the hands of elected officials (The Governor is not elected and not screened like a minister). However, the ceremonial nature of the position does not preclude the Governor from playing a crucial role in times of crisis. The previous Governor, Eugene Holiday, exemplified this during his tenure, earning the respect and trust of the people through his visible and proactive approach in similar and worse situations. Holiday’s presence during crises provided a sense of stability and reassurance, highlighting the potential impact a Governor can have, even within the constraints of their formal powers.

However, it is worth noting that while Holiday was seen as a commendable statesman, his tenure prior to becoming Governor included a position on the board of GEBE (1994-1998), the island’s utility company. This historical context complicates the narrative, suggesting that while Holiday may have excelled as a public figure, the systemic problems at GEBE were not adequately addressed under his watch, yes the problems with GeBe date back a long time….. more about this later.

The current energy crisis on Sint Maarten is a multifaceted issue, impacting daily life, economic stability, and public morale. While the Governor may not have direct control over energy policy, his engagement in the public discourse is invaluable. A visible and vocal Governor can galvanize support, foster community spirit, and potentially influence policy through advocacy and collaboration with other branches of government.

The Governor’s apparent focus on high-profile events and social gatherings, while important in their own right, seems misplaced amidst an ongoing crisis. These activities, often seen as catering to the elite, risk alienating the general populace, who may feel neglected and unheard. In times of hardship, the people look to their leaders for guidance, empathy, and action. The Governor’s current approach, characterized by an emphasis on ceremonial duties over crisis management, falls short of these expectations.

To address this disconnect, the Governor could adopt a more visible and engaged stance, similar to that of his predecessor. Regular public addresses, active participation in crisis management efforts, and a demonstrated awareness of the issues facing ordinary citizens could significantly enhance his rapport with the population. Such actions would not only provide much-needed moral support but also demonstrate a genuine commitment to the welfare of all residents, not just the privileged few.

While the Governor of Sint Maarten operates within a framework of limited formal powers, the potential to influence and inspire through visible leadership is substantial. The emerging energy crisis presents an opportunity for the Governor to step up and be the unifying figure that the people need. By prioritizing engagement with the public and addressing their concerns directly, the Governor can bridge the gap between ceremonial duties and real-world impact, reaffirming the vital role of symbolic leadership in times of crisis.


Check the Facebook page of the Governor

Rijksbesluit rechtspositie Gouverneurs

Reglement voor de Gouverneur van Sint Maarten