Kingdom must respect, PM, Parliament and its people.
PHILIPSBURG:--- Member of Parliament Frans Richardson in his opening remarks on the floor of parliament on Thursday afternoon during the discussion on the appointment of a Quartermaster by the Minister of Interior and Foreign Affairs Ronald Plasterk said it’s a shame that the Kingdom has stopped so low when they chose not to inform the Prime Minister of St. Maarten that they chose to appoint a Quartermaster for the Integrity Chamber of St. Maarten.
Richardson said that the parliament of St. Maarten passed a law that infringes on the basic human rights of the people. He said that despite that the Kingdom seems to forget that St. Maarten has an Ombudsman and Constitutional Court in place that has to screen every law passed by the Parliament of St. Maarten, the Kingdom violated the country’s constitution when they hid the handling of the appointment of the Quartermaster.
He added that its shame that the Kingdom chose not to inform the Prime Minister of St. Maarten of the Quartermaster. He further stated that the people of St. Maarten need to look closely at what is happening in St. Eustatius.
MP Franklin Meyers also condemned the actions of the Dutch he said that he wants all the Members of Parliament to realize that whatever decision they take it will affect their children and grandchildren. He said that three judges from the Constitutional Court threw out the agreement on the establishment of the Integrity Chamber because it infringes on the human rights of the people as stated in the country’s constitution.
Meyers said even the Minister of Justice on St. Maarten cannot function as Minister of Justice because there are law enforcement officers working on the island that do not report to St. Maarten’s Minister of Justice. Meyers further explained that St. Maarten got what it negotiated when they were negotiating the dismantling of the Netherlands Antilles when they agreed to allow the Dutch to control the country’s finances and justice.
He said that businesses are closing on St. Maarten simply because the government are not allowed to govern because the Dutch control the country’s finances. He cautioned that there are difficult days and the people of St. Maarten have to be resilient. MP Meyers called on the people to come together as brothers and fight in the interest of the people of St. Maarten because in the view of the Dutch everyone on St. Maarten are corrupt.
He mentioned the case of his brother that arrested by for human smuggling, Meyers said the same judge that went to his brother’s house with the TBO team to arrest him is the one who confirmed that his arrest was legal. He questioned if that type of procedure is correct or if that is also not a breach of integrity.
MP Tamara Leonard also shared the same sentiments, she said when St. Maarten parliament approved that law when they were told that they should approve the law to avoid the Dutch from imposing instructions on the country. MP Leonard made clear that St. Maarten is in trouble, “the country is now into trouble/ crisis.” She asked what the Council Ministers intend to do? Are they ready to scrap the integrity law and start over just like how the constitution court threw it out because it infringes on human rights and the privacy of people? MP Leonard asked some very straight forward questions when she asked if the government and MPs are going to continue to complain and cry or are they ready to do something about the law the Parliament of St. Maarten passed which the Constitutional Court scrapped.
MP Theodore Heyliger who appointed the former Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson who signed the protocol with the Dutch for the establishment of the integrity chamber asked the current council of ministers what do they intend to do with the law. He said that the Dutch has their “Gestapo’s” on the island that are fully equipped while KPSM and other justice institutions on St. Maarten are understaffed and undermanned. Heyliger said he wants to know what repercussions the civil servants and the people of St. Maarten will face if they do not cooperate with the Quartermaster in giving them the information they demanded.
In responding to Parliament Prime Minister William Marlin said when he heard the news that the Dutch had appointed a Quartermaster he took it as a joke. He said to date there has been no communication between the Dutch and him as Prime Minister of St. Maarten. He made clear that he did not get any mail email, watapp message or even a Facebook message on the appointment of the Quartermaster.
Marlin said the same thing happened when the former Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson signed the protocol with the Dutch government and he too did not consult with the parliament of St. Maarten. He said at the time some MPS were in the Netherlands attending the IPKO meeting when they got the news. He said that there is no use to rehash what transpired back then. He made clear that the St. Maarten government lived up to the protocol while the Dutch did not appoint a Quartermaster by the deadline which was June 1st.
As for what the current government has done Marlin said when they took office in November 2015, and spent 9 months in office they had to deal with a number of issues left behind by the former governments. Marlin said government had to deal with finding solutions for the dump, the lack of classrooms, putting a balanced budget in place while they also had to deal with the ‘bag’ of debts they inherited. In the meantime, he made clear that St. Maarten does have integrity issues but the country has several institutions to deal with those issues. He also mentioned the promises made by the Dutch to assist with the enhancing the justice departments but to date have not done so, while the prosecutor’s office is busy starting investigations based on what they read on the blog, or on the floor of parliament and even what they heard on political podiums.
Going back to the protocol signed by the former Minister of Justice he said it had a date on it that does not exist June 31st, yet St. Maarten (the government and majority in parliament) back then went along with it. He said that St. Maarten even appointed a quartermaster based on the protocol that was finally shot down by the Constitutional Court since it infringes on the human rights and the constitution. The other Ministers that addressed Parliament were Minister of Justice Raphael Boasman and Minister of Finance Minister Richard Gibson Sr. The meeting of Parliament has been adjourned until Monday.