~ A policy is like placing a band-aid over a life sore.~
PHILIPSBURG: --- The distribution of long lease land to voters during an election is a known taboo for politicians on St. Maarten, it is one of the reasons why the Ministry of VROMI is fought for during coalition negotiations. In most cases, the best negotiator wins.
Members of Parliament that were either commissioners or ministers are guilty of receiving parcels of land for themselves their family members, close friends, and party supporters. However, the 2016 land distribution by the former Minister of VROMI was nothing more than a fraud, which benefitted a then member of parliament and politician since he contested the parliamentary elections.
The action of the former minister of VROMI and the member of parliament seems to be accepted by members of parliament of the St. Maarten parliament. Not one of them condemned the land distribution because at one point they too benefitted, or they distributed land to people the same way since there is no policy or legislation in place.
Some of these very politicians that are today defending the 2016 land distribution at Vineyard Heights received erfpact land and sold it within one day. Economic rights for long lease land were also sold at least one member of parliament was investigated and fought several legal battles for the same thing.
In 2017 several persons received land on the ring road that led to the arrest of a former minister. The only reason that minister escaped was that there is no policy in place and most of all because judicial procedures were not respected.
On Thursday, the members of parliament fired questions to the minister of VROMI about the land distribution even though they have firsthand knowledge of what transpired over the years.
PFP MP Raeyhon Peterson shared his version of what took place in 2016 when he dealt with the Vineyard Heights land distribution, however, MP Peterson did not mention his name was among the 54 persons that were to receive land.
Parliamentarians need to work by putting laws in place.
Peterson said during his presentation that his faction will be presenting a motion while a motion is also expected from National Alliance faction leader William Marlin.
It is the hope that Members of Parliament will not take the people of St. Maarten for fools by presenting a motion for a policy to be put in place because they all know that any policy can be scrapped by any minister, and in fact, a policy is like placing a band-aid on a life sore. Instead, these members of parliament should earn the salaries they are paid and work on legislation that would curb the abuse of land distribution. In fact, MP Peterson is a lawyer and former employee of the Ministry of VROMI, MP Claudius Buncamper another veteran civil servant that worked at the ministry of VROMI for over 25 years, former Ministers of VROMI, and senior politician MP William Marlin has the required knowledge for the drafting of laws, while MP Christopher Emmanuel knows exactly what land distribution caused him.
In fact, it is time for Members of Parliament especially those that chose to grandstand on the floor of parliament pool their resources and fix the problem once and for all. Right now there are at least 5 Members of Parliament that either worked or were Ministers of VROMI so its time to get to work.