St. Maarten needs to fix its own house before trying to cross the ocean
PHILIPSBURG:--- Member of Parliament Christopher Emmanuel unleashed an unexpected bomb on the floor of Parliament on Monday afternoon during the urgent meeting of Parliament that was called to discuss the instruction given to Governor Eugene Holiday. MP Emmanuel said that persons from the UP party offered him as much as two million dollars to jump ship and form the government with them. "I was offered $80,000.00, then it moved to $400,000.00 and finally to two million dollars. St. Maarten has moved from buying votes to buying seats now and there is an integrity problem in the country that needs to be addressed." MP Emmanuel further stated that his colleague described the PWC report as 'the melee report" yet the Government of St. Maarten dispatched a letter to the Netherlands stating that they will try to adhere to the recommendations in the PricewaterhouseCoopers report. MP Emmanuel said that the letter that was sent to the Kingdom Council of Ministers was signed by the current Prime Minister/Chairlady of Parliament Sarah Wescot Williams and Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson. In that letter St. Maarten clearly stated that the country does not have the means and finances to expedite the recommendations and if support can be obtained anywhere in the Kingdom the country is ready to accept it. The National Alliance MP said that while the UP/DP/Marlin coalition is saying that the Dutch is coming he wants them to know that the Dutch is already on the island, they were invited to St. Maarten. He further stated that St. Maarten created the problem they are having now. MP Emmanuel said that UPP candidate Julian Rollocks once said that the UPP leader Theodore Heyliger was a mafia because he was trying to swindle away a crane from them. He said he will not go into the statements made by former chairlady of parliament Gracita Arrindell and others about Heyliger. "The Harbor Group of Companies is being run like a cartel." Emmanuel said that its a government owned company (PJIAE) that bought three pelicans for $350,000.00. "This is a semblance of corruption."
The new MP and long-time radio and internet host said that St. Maarten creates its own problem and that it's the politicians on St. Maarten that have neglected the people of St. Maarten for years, especially those that submit requests for bus, taxi and other business licenses. He said that St. Maarten is a country within the Kingdom and the Kingdom is still responsible for good governance. He told the members of the coalition that if they do not like what is taking place then they need to get out. "If you cannot deal with the rules of the house then get out of the house, meaning if you can't deal with what the Dutch MPs are saying then St. Maarten should be ready to go independent. At least two members of the coalition said they will be presenting a motion in the second round, Emmanuel said when that motion is presented he hopes it has something to do with independence if not the MPs that are against the instruction should either stay in the house and abide by the rules or get out.
MP Frans Richardson shared the same sentiments when he said that the problem St. Maarten is having today was created by the people of St. Maarten and politicians, he looked at the Chairlady of Parliament Sarah Wescot Williams and told her that it is not possible for politicians to defame other politicians on the campaign trail and then after elections team up with them. MP Richardson said Parliament was discussing a very serious issue but he wants the people of St. Maarten to know that the problem created today was created by St. Maarten and its people. "We are our own enemies, year in and year out, we continued with the same thing and nowadays the Kingdom gets information with a click of a button due to technology." MP Richardson said he feels the pain the UPP members especially its leader is facing, however he made clear that St. Maarten and its people are their own enemies. Richardson went as far as saying that the politicians need to either shape up or ship out because what they are doing is defaming other people and the country with the things they say. "I am telling you we are our worst enemies, we need to change our attitude."
MP Richardson said that several of the Members of Parliament made numerous promises while on the campaign trail and he welcomed the new Members of Parliament to the "house of pain" since they work and pass motions in that legislative branch and after that nothing is done with them. MP Richardson said one of the things St. Maarten has to deal with before trying to tackle the Dutch is the current situation they have on their hands. "Our major problem today is that our system is broken and that has to be fixed before the country can function properly."
He said out of the 15 Members of Parliament, three of them are Ministers, namely the Prime Minister who is also the chairlady of Parliament, Minister of Health Cornelius de Weever and Minister of VROMI Maurice Lake. "People this is no joke this is serious business and there is a separation of power, Ministers and Members of Parliament cannot be holding both positions. Suppose Parliament wants to call the Minister of VROMI Maurice Lake to Parliament for him to update Parliament on the passing of hurricane Gonzalo, tell us what would happen, would the Minister sit up there for one moment and then here another moment. People this is no joke so before you try deal with the Kingdom start fixing this house first." MP Richardson further explained that they do not have to worry about the Governor, because he accepted the job when he was called upon to serve St. Maarten as Governor and now he has to execute his task whether it's good or bad for St. Maarten.
Leader of the National Alliance William Marlin in his presentation said that Parliament should be discussing two issues. Marlin said it's easy to say that what goes on St. Maarten does not concern the Dutch but he wants to know if the politicians on St. Maarten are ready to fix the problem. He asked if the instruction on the screening process is a motion of non-confidence towards the Governor of St. Maarten because according to him the screening process worked well in 2010, 2012 and 2013. "I would like to know if the Dutch politicians have information that St. Maarten does not have giving them reasons to issue such an instruction in 2014." Marlin then explained that St. Maarten and its people have to know where this kind of thing started, he showed two newspapers articles that were written in a newspaper in Curacao, in the Netherlands and locally where the former Minister of Constitutional Affairs Roland Duncan called on the Dutch to investigate the leader of UPP for massive vote buying. Marlin said but soon after Duncan was appointed Minister of Justice by the UPP/DP/Illidge coalition so he forgot about the vote buying he spoke of back then. Another issue Marlin raised is the decision rendered by the Court of First Instance in the Masbangu case where the judge accused the prosecution of class justice, he said the prosecution was given a motion of non-confidence by a sitting judge and these are serious issues.
Leader of the United Peoples Party Theodore Heyliger said when he was 21 years old this is how the Dutch came after his grandfather who was later arrested and tried. Heyliger made clear that his government will look at the recommendations made in the PWC report and they will try to execute them. He said while St. Maarten is being called all sorts of names this is the first country to establish laws that other parts of the Kingdom do not have. As for the screening process, Heyliger said he is not afraid of the screening because his dream was never to be Prime Minister or even Minister, however, what the Dutch wants to do now will infringe on the Constitution of St. Maarten especially the rights and privacy of persons information. Heyliger said that while this instruction is given there is no limit as to how far they will go, the screening he said includes spouses, children, parents, business partners or even people that one came into contact with. "Basically anybody can give whatever information they want on a candidate. This instruction he said even violates the criminal codes and for him this is a total abuse of power when the Kingdom Council wants to use 'carte blanche' to screen people." Heyliger said St. Maarten is accustomed to creating a new novella everyday but one has to understand that it's the island's culture but the Dutch politicians cannot use rumors to push what they want down peoples throats. Heyliger further stated that he obtained 1945 votes and his party won seven seats and for him what the Dutch wants to do is the greatest insult to the voters who went to the polls and elected the government they want. Heyliger said that while he is called a mafia, he wants to make clear that he was never questioned in any mafia related case and if he is guilty by association then the Dutch can keep the positions in the executive branch because St. Maarten is a small country and he will not stop speaking or associating with his people for no one.
Member of Parliament Franklin Meyers said that the Dutch politicians want people to believe they are holier than thou. He said he personally does not have anything to hide and has no problem with the screening process but the problem that this will create if St. Maarten allows it to happen is that it will infringe on the rights of everyone and that is totally against the law and the Constitution of St. Maarten. He said hours after the election results on August 30th, 2014 three political parties formed a government and the very next day the Dutch extended congratulatory messages to the politicians that came together to form that coalition. MP Meyers said it took the UPP 24 days before they signed an agreement with MP De Weever and the very next day Dutch politicians namely Andre Bosman and Ronald van Raak said that the UPP bought De Weever. MP Meyers said that the people of St. Maarten are too complacent and refused to ruffle the feathers of the Dutch and instead go along with everything they imposed on the islands. He said in 1987 when the late Claude Wathey announced that he was going to lobby the people of St. Maarten to go independent the Dutch "cooked" up something against him and got him arrested and it's the same thing they are doing to the late Claude Wathey's grandson MP Theodore Heyliger. Meyers gave another example he said that some years ago the Dutch approached the former Chief of Police Derrick Holiday and they told him they were going to move him from his position and place him at the helm of the Coast Guard and when Holiday refused they cooked up a story, prosecuted him and got rid of him. This he said is the modus oprandi of the Dutch, and what they have done to Africa and Indonesia they are trying to do it to St. Maarten by decolonization. "I want everyone to know that the beast does not change and right now they are prepared to take down St. Maarten. As an elected official I am prepared to go to jail or in the Cul de Sac cemetery if necessary to defend my people and country. As Members of Parliament we need to show the Dutch that despite our political differences we are united as country."
Member of Parliament Johan Janchi Leonard went after the Dutch whom he said is in charge of justice, Leonard said that the Dutch are the ones that select and appoint the Prosecutors on St. Maarten, they are the ones in charge of the entire justice system. The Minister of Justice on St. Maarten has no say on who they select and appoint. He said the Public Prosecutors Office has their own budget so they cannot accuse the Minister for interference. MP Leonard said when a country wants peace the people have to be prepared for war. "Right now the country is under siege, today it's me tomorrow it will be you." Leonard said while being an officer of KPSM the police back then and even today does not get credit for the work they do. The Prosecutors Office always used up millions of guilders claiming they are bringing in reinforcement yet in the end the cases are cracked by the local police and they never got the credit. "The Dutch does not trust our local police force and this is the main reason they spend thousands on traveling expenses to bring in their so called experts who do nothing but enjoy the sea, sun and sand on St. Maarten." He said the Prosecutors Office brought in all sorts of people to solve the Vesuvius case yet the case was solved by the officers of KPSM and they got no credit for their work. MP Leonard said the justice system is wasting the taxpayers monies and most of the cases they take to court they lose them.
He said right now the judges and the prosecutors are in a battle and some judges choose to leave while those that stay have their own agenda.
MP Leona Marlin said the instruction given to the governor is in direct conflict with the constitution. She said the country is unjustly oppressed and the instructions issued by the Kingdom Council to the Governor of St. Maarten is not in the law, it is unconstitutional it also infringes on the preamble of the constitution, it degrades parliament and also VDSM the security services of St. Maarten.
The second round of the meeting will continue on Wednesday morning at 10 am where members supporting the coalition will present at least two motions.