SINT MAARTEN (COMMENTARY – by Cdr. Bud Slabbaert) - St.Tosia is definitely not a Banana Republic; it is a Maracuja Republic. A few clarifying lines of political science may be appropriate here. Every government system is a ‘Cracy’ which originates from the Greek word for power: ‘Kratos’. Democracy maybe the most favored as it is supposed to be the power of the people. Experts of various kinds claim that due to human nature being essentially faulty, every government system in the beginning of its development has been a Kakistocracy, which is rule by the stupid; a form of governance where the worst or least-qualified citizens are in control. Common non-experts of various kinds believe that such still applies to the political situation in many countries worldwide.
By definition, a Banana Republic is considered a Kleptocratic system that economically depends upon the exports of bananas and features a society composed of an impoverished Ergatocracy and a ruling Plutocracy, composed of the aristocracy of business, politics, and the military.
St.Tosia is called a Maracuja Republic because it blooms like a Passiflora Incarnata or Passion Flower, which knowingly has herbal calming effects but also may increase the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid in the brain which decreases the activity of certain brain cells which is not uncommon for politicians and noticeable in their speech and action.
The fruit of the Passionflower is of course the Passion Fruit or Maracuja. St.Tosia is an island full of passion. The islanders are extremely passionate which comprises anything from love, affection, mania, fascination, obsession and neurosis. The Passion Fruit is a vigorous, climbing vine that clings by tendrils to almost any support, something that is also typical for politicians on the island. And so.., there is no similarity whatsoever with Bananas which grow in clusters hanging from the top of the plant. Because of these differing characteristics a Maracuja Republic is therefore not comparable to a Banana Republic.
St.Tosia is more in line with what the laid-back region is really all about. The island is a political adhocracy. The philosophy is typified by aversion to planning, tendency to respond only to the urgent, as opposed to the important, focusing on 'firefighting,' rather than on establishing systems and procedures through goal setting and long-term planning. There is a world of business interests driven by society members who migrated to the island on the one hand, and the other hand a world of following, supporting and taking sides among families and clans of native St.Tosians in a House of Assembly. And the world of business and politics often blend harmoniously well depending on the potential opportunities of benefits and favors for the individuals. And so, the St.Tosian Adhocracy is flexible and non-permanent and can respond faster to a changing environment and circumstances and it can be a thriving factor on the wellbeing of the island.
On the other hand, political analysts from abroad believe that St.Tosia politics stands for a blend of Kleptocracy and Bankocracy. Kleptocracy is the Rule by thieves; a system of governance where its officials and the ruling class pursue personal wealth and political power at the expense of the wider population. Bankocracy is the Rule by banks; a system of governance of excessive power or influence by banks and other financial authorities on public policymaking.
Admitted that St.Tosia is worldwide known for ‘Tosiatic’ banking and finance. But leading psychologists have determined that such characterization is based merely on human envy and jealousy. As a gesture of appreciation for this thesis, St.Tosia’s Minister of Finance, the Honorable Sir Charles P. Dribcloss Sr., nicknamed ‘Laundromat Charly’, has offered support and incentives to those members of the Psychological Science community who are willing to settle on the island and lecture at the St.Tosia University and become Professor in a new Academy of Financial Psychology, the field that integrates Psychology with Financial Management.
St.Tosia has eighteen government ministries. The constitution of St.Tosia was written by Zadekiah Jones, a man with tremendous foresight for his time in 1898 when the government form on St.Tosia was officially changed from the ‘Most Serene Monastic Republic’ to simply ‘Republic’. Zadekiah was also a very social oriented person. Because of that, he became known in the history of St.Tosia as the ‘Father of the Island’. In fact, he was the father of an undetermined number of children from a just as undetermined number of different women. Whether that is true or not, elders on St.Tosia know that truth can be stranger than fiction, and lovers can be stranger than both.
It was Zadekiah’s philosophy that it is better to have more administrative offices rather than just a few because the government could employ more politicians and cronies as civil servants. One may expect that this would create more bureaucracy. On the contrary! On St.Tosia, it enhances adhocracy since nothing gets done in the first place unless it absolutely urgent, and then it will be done on of the spur of a moment related to an upcoming festivity. St.Tosians love partying and the incentive of having a festivity can be very motivating to take quick and positive action.
With more political seats available, one needs fewer votes to be elected for office. It supports a democratic system that distributes political power in the hands of the public which forms the electorate. In St.Tosia, it was never quite clear whether it would result in less power for more people or more power for less people. About two hundred votes are enough for a seat in office which pays well, provides health and retirement pension benefits plus a bodyguard and a private secretary of their own choice. In order to secure enough votes, there are various options. Government land can be leased to some members of large family groups to build dwellings and develop animal husbandry. Every piece of land has owners and families and thus multiple voters attached. Issuing various business licenses is another option to secure a constituency.
About the author:
The almost true stories and almost believable stories of St.Tosia are written by Cdr. Bud Slabbaert who claims that it is what he has experienced while residing on St.Tosia and monitoring what else is going on in the Caribbean.