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Old 13-03-2018, 19:10   #16
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Re: Devastation Continues - St. Maarten

We are in PR ATM. PR had a certain level of difficulty before the storm and made worse by the storm. Much of what I saw says they are back up and running but still have much to do to “make it right” if such a thing ever happens.

We drove up into the mountains yesterday. They are still without power there in many places and will not have it for some time to come. But those are very tough places which represent a small fraction of the population. Many/most houses built on 1:1 slopes or MORE. You may park on the roof of a 3 story house whose roof is level with the road. Weird. It’s not Kansas.

We went through Boqueron, and Ponce and are in Salinas. All wrecked boats cleared out and the harbors are open. Damage is evident, no fuel in Salinas. But it’s not a wreck either.

Back to St Martin, didn’t the PM resign and move to Belize about 6 weeks ago?
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Old 14-03-2018, 10:33   #17
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Re: Devastation Continues - St. Maarten

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Originally Posted by roland stockham View Post
Your assumption of a link between any particular political ideology and community resilience/disaster recovery is both naive and inaccurate. It is far more complex than that. Colonial status may be a factor here compared to other islands.
Very sad to see having visited the area. I wonder at what point people will decide it is not worth rebuilding and abandon the islands. Not only will this happen again it will happen more frequently and still Nero fiddles...
Great analysis roland. Jumping to a conclusion of laziness and wanting Government handouts as being the problem is much misguided. These are great people. It's a poor area relative to the US, France, and the Netherlands, for just the reasons you mentioned. The French and the Dutch imported a massive number of slaves to work on the plantations, and that's how the country was built.

Referring to this quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by carstenb
The French side is influenced by the French socialism – after this is all the fault of the society, so the society should take of me and repair all the damage without me having to lift a finger
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Old 16-03-2018, 13:41   #18
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Re: Devastation Continues - St. Maarten

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I have been in SXM since Irma and have to agree that a lot of the problem in St Maarten is related to government. A huge barge was brought in to Simpson Bay from the Bahamas by one of the large marina owners at great expense. It was capable of dealing with the mega yacht and could have lifted many more boats that required two smaller cranes in tandem. They were boarded by the machine gun wielding local Dutch side coastguard and run out of town because their paper work was not in order (official line). The minister in charge was more focused on making sure certain favored people got the work (common knowledge), people (IMHO) with inadequate equipment and experience. This does nothing to speed the islands recovery and effectively punishes the large marina owner for being proactive. The same type of shenanigans occured on land under the same minister including a $100k flagpole project just after the storm.

wow and I had such a rosy view of the dutch government like it was all sweetness and light in the netherlands but corruption is rife all over the world i suppose. thank you for your informative reports from these devastated islands... i have been considering loading all my tools and sailing to totola from england to help... but that's a major undertaking. ...can anyone afford to pay a british carpenter for work there or are the people broke as well as desolate in the bvi?.... it is an enormous change that has come about since these storms one has to bow in humble obeyescense to these elemental forces.
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Old 16-03-2018, 14:47   #19
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Re: Devastation Continues - St. Maarten

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can anyone afford to pay a british carpenter for work there or are the people broke as well as desolate
While I'm sure your intentions are good, let's not take bread out of the mouths of the many locals who no doubt were left jobless after the storms.

I too wondered whether I could pick up some work with the islands' recovery. I couldn't think of anything in my wheelhouse that would not be simply taking work away from a local.

It's my current impression that the best way we can assist the islands now is to throw business at them - take cruises, book charters, stay and dine locally.
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Old 16-03-2018, 15:14   #20
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Re: Devastation Continues - St. Maarten

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While I'm sure your intentions are good, let's not take bread out of the mouths of the many locals who no doubt were left jobless after the storms.

I too wondered whether I could pick up some work with the islands' recovery. I couldn't think of anything in my wheelhouse that would not be simply taking work away from a local.

It's my current impression that the best way we can assist the islands now is to throw business at them - take cruises, book charters, stay and dine locally.
As a matter of fact, in the BVI, quite a few workers with the skills needed for rebuilding, from abroad, have been recruited and welcomed, in boatyards as well as elsewhere. The government has realized that it's a huge effort, much bigger than what we could do under normal circumstances, to rebuild, and in a tourist economy, that's a priority. Our local college is giving free courses in construction. For these reasons, among many others, we seem to be progressing more quickly than some other places.

However, as a general statement, you are right that workers from outside could be taking away employment and might not be welcomed. And, that point of view will return in the not too distant future.

Agreed that bringing business is a very effective and welcomed contribution.
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Old 16-03-2018, 15:27   #21
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Re: Devastation Continues - St. Maarten

The main problem I found all through the Caribbean was lack of access to education. On most islands people have had to pay for schooling and in a poor area that means only the affluent middle classes get to complete high school. I met a number of bright hard working people who should be making a real difference to there communities. What was stopping them was a lack of skills in reading writing, bookkeeping and basic business and communication skills. Face to face and on a practical job they where great but few people could lead or organize a small business let alone a major project. Some of it could well be inertia or corruption at a government level but I think most of it is a lake of people with the skills and experience to organize the response. As a European it came as quite an eye-opener, I was so used to these skills being an ever present part of the landscape that I was unable to really imagine what happens when they are missing. I was worth going just to learn that lesson.
It is also a salutary lesson for the rest of us. The biggest and possibly only universal difference between the 'developed' world and the rest is free schooling. The US is a bit different, in it's heyday when it was the world economic leader it had a very good public school system right up to the state universities... Teachers not tariffs will make America great again.
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Old 16-03-2018, 15:35   #22
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Re: Devastation Continues - St. Maarten

In the US we seem to think we can fix the problem by immigrating engineers and Drs.

In my experience, narrow as it is, few American youth want to be engineers, those that do think they should be Project Managers and VPs immediately.

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Old 16-03-2018, 16:02   #23
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Re: Devastation Continues - St. Maarten

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As a matter of fact, in the BVI, quite a few workers with the skills needed for rebuilding, from abroad, have been recruited and welcomed, in boatyards as well as elsewhere. The government has realized that it's a huge effort, much bigger than what we could do under normal circumstances, to rebuild, and in a tourist economy, that's a priority. Our local college is giving free courses in construction. For these reasons, among many others, we seem to be progressing more quickly than some other places.

However, as a general statement, you are right that workers from outside could be taking away employment and might not be welcomed. And, that point of view will return in the not too distant future.

Agreed that bringing business is a very effective and welcomed contribution.
yeah these are very useful thoughts... I think the issue with taking jobs from locals would be more relevant in haiti where the crisis is constant. but the vastness of the task to rebuild in the bvi will invariably require more workers. maybe some closer enquiries to the bvi government would yield results.
thanks
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Old 16-03-2018, 16:26   #24
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Re: Devastation Continues - St. Maarten

Definitely with you there Roland. I have worked on many of the Caribbean islands over the past 15 yrs and education is certainly the choke point in achieving a thriving middle class. It seems to me that places like St Maarten definitely have the affluence to provide good local education, health care, etc. however a culture of entitlement which goes hand in hand with corruption has become entrenched and is very difficult to break. The last generation sold family land, did nefarius deals, etc. with foreign investors and lived well without having to work for it. This generation feels they deserve the same. Thus the ever growing local government is populated by this generation of entitled locals who are not above corruption - in fact many get into government specifically for that opportunity. It's not fair to paint all the locals with the same brush like I just did but with the excessively rapid growth of tourism where there is little rule of law it is easy to see how this has occurred with many. It is a very difficult cycle to break but there is hope, as more and more expatriates and foreign educated locals get the vote and go into politics the rule of law and levels of education found elsewhere will creep into the local system as a natural progression. This will take some time as the local 'born here' citizens of limited education will tenaciously hang on to their perceived birth rite. Eventually enough foreign educated and progressive locals will see the benefits to society of squashing corruption. The locals are very sharp and not lazy at all, they really want to succeed but often feel painted into a corner. They need to see a light at the end of the tunnel. IMHO the best thing we can do is befriend the locals, especially the young ones, treat them fairly and with respect and try to stand in their shoes before we share our opinions on how they can succeed with dignity - that is a form of education.
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Old 16-03-2018, 22:26   #25
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Re: Devastation Continues - St. Maarten

that is beautifully put sounds to me not dissimilar to the culture in parts of the british isles. I have a very good friend who was primary school teacher from a small school in rural devon . I taught trumpet at his school and asked him one day if he would write a book about education when he retired. "i could write it all on the back of a postage stamp" came the reply. "what would you write?" I asked. "Respect the kids" said he.

Yeah, respecting people is definitely a form of education. indeed I would venture further to say that respect and love are the essential core of real education. We can do that anywhere and anytime for each other.

I would like to sail to the caribbean but would like to make myself useful when I get there and i don't have money as such, just skills and love

here is something of my philosophy....
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