The Saba Islander

by Will Johnson

Letter to the Editor

In today’s Daily Herald there was yet another unsigned letter to the Editor from Saba. For a newspaper like The Herald one has to wonder why they would allow unsigned letters to the Editor in the first place. You see many people from St. Maarten and St. Eustatius signing their names to their opinions. When a newspaper publishes an unsigned letter to the editor that means they agree with the contents and can be held liable. This letter in particular tries to create problems not only on Saba but also between Saba and St. Maarten. A couple of weeks ago there was a strong reaction from Statia on a letter sent in from Saba with just initials. We know we. And we know who is from Saba and who not. The letter in question from Saba then was not written by someone native to Saba and neither was the response from Statia written by a native of that island.
We doubt if the unsigned letter today would have been written by a Saban unless that person is a total ignoramus and we do have a few of those too.
However the truth of the matter is that Saba and St. Maarten go way back. These two islands have produced offspring like Maria Liberia Peters who became Prime Minister (father Peters from St. Maarten and mother Hassell from Saba). Also Ministers like Theo Heyliger (father Heyliger from Saba and mother Wathey from Sint Maarten). Sabans including I got jobs on St. Maarten and were received as family by the whole population. Especially when Claude Wathey was in charge. But even in recent times Mr. Xavier Blackman, was elected as Commissioner of St. Maarten. One of our Island Council Members is born on St. Maarten and is of St. Maarten/Saba descent. Furthermore a large percentage of the Saba population are born on St. Maarten though living here. I would like to hope that regardless of which status Saba will enjoy in the future that Sint Maarteners would always be welcome to work and invest here. A number of people from St. Maarten have invested here in the past and in recent times. I hope that more investors will follow.
The writer of the anonymous letter is concerned about employment of Sabans. Please state names of Sabans looking for work. We know we and I would like to see names of real indigenous Sabans who are looking for work. People from all over the world are coming here and not only finding work but also investing in all kinds of businesses. Is the Herald’s anonymous correspondent from Saba suggesting that Sabans have lost their initiative to work for themselves? Something which scores of foreigners are coming here and doing. The writer even suggests that in order to get Sabans to work for the private sector perhaps the employers should reduce the number of working hours. Are you serious? I personally have been calling on the Dutch government to employ Sabans as policemen, customs officers and so on. Has anyone solicited for the job of policeman as yet for example???
The writer of the anonymous letter to the Herald and the newspaper allows this and is equally accountable, suggests that some woman stole tens of thousands of dollars from the government and was allowed to get away with it. This is the first time I have heard such an accusation being made. Why did you not mention your name and the name of the woman you are accusing?? You state that the government is inexperienced and let her get away with it after she promised to pay it back. The anonymous letter writer is perhaps one of those who are constantly posting religious tracts on Facebook. Even if this was the case. This government is the first ever with three College graduates, who have not only the education but also the experience to deal with many situations. I can assure the anonymous writer that the two Commissioners will surely be reelected when voting time comes around. They will be elected to the Island Council and can then decide if they will want to continue on as a Commissioner or not. Over the years that I was in government I tried desperately not to send people to jail or for them to lose their jobs. Perhaps I was wrong because in the end the same people I saved have no use for me. But as a Christian and some people even suggest that I am a Muslim, but in any event I felt that I should not try and hurt people as what goes around comes around. If what the Herald’s anonymous correspondent on Saba states is correct then the Government should ask the Public Prosecutor to look into the matter if the allegations are correct and let the Herald and its anonymous correspondent on Saba come forward with proof as to “who is the accuser and who did it.”
For twenty five years I published the Saba Herald. And yes there were anonymous letters to the Editor and most written by me. However the Herald would term the Saba Herald as a scandal sheet. I never denied that the Saba Herald was there to defend me and my party the WIPM, even though I carried regular news articles. My paper was never subsidized and no one ever spit in my mouth and told me what to say or what not to say. The Herald thinks of itself as a sort of “Higher Order newspaper” and yet participates in making accusations against people by allowing anonymous correspondents (and only from Saba) to make all sorts of allegations against government and individuals.
In my political career I have worn a crown of thorns in order to bring Saba to a higher level and to create circumstances where people could find a job on their own by investing time and money into building up various businesses and many have. And I am proud of that. Those who made it on their own or through their parents hard work accuse me of making too many “make believe jobs” in government. I stand guilty for creating government employment when there was a need for it. The last years many Sabans have left opportunities in the private sector pass them by, while expecting that the government must create jobs for them. But they are a small few and if the anonymous correspondent for the Daily Herald is really concerned please publish their names and ask each one how many hours they would like to work for employers in the private sector. Shame on you and shame on The Daily Herald for allowing people in government to be constantly subjected to this sort of harassment while they are doing a great job in keeping Saba on a steady economic course and not getting much credit for it. But there is a God and he looks down on everyone and in the end will see to it that the people will pass a fair judgment on those who are working in the interest of Saba and its people and the WIPM party has been doing that since 1971 and will continue to do so.
Will Johnson
The Saba Islander.

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