PHILIPSBURG: --- Several Members of Parliament expressed their concerns on the effects of the COVID- 19 a pandemic that has worldwide concerns causing many countries to shut down.
MP Claudius Buncamper called on the Dutch Government to monitor the borders because they asked for border control and it is now their competency. MP Buncamper said that he is concerned about the influx of Venezuelans that managed to secure refugee statuses on the French territory but crosses the border to work and live illegally on the Dutch side. The USP MP said that should any of these illegal immigrants fall sick they would not come forward easily due to their legal status.
MP Marissa Gumbs called on the nation not to panic since panicking will not help the situation. She asked Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs who reported to Parliament for an emergency meeting of Parliament if they would consider shutting off their French side brothers and sisters due to the worldwide pandemic.
Gumbs asked what mechanisms are in place for Dutch civil servants living on the French side have, can these civil servants work from home. She asked what provisions are in place for students living on the French side but attending school on the Dutch side of the island.
MP Omar Ottley called the community to go out and get tested to ensure they do not have the COVID-19 virus. He asked the Prime Minister to give Parliament the real reason why the schools on the Dutch side are still opened.
MP Christopher Emmanuel a high-risk patient himself informed Parliament that he is scared knowing his own medical status.
He asked the Prime Minister to inform Parliament about the readiness of the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC). He asked if SMMC has the necessary protective gear to treat patients that may have COVID-19 symptoms. Emmanuel asked the Prime Minister when the last time was, she met with the management of SMMC and if she was given a breakdown of the influx of patients that visited the institution with pneumonia-like symptoms. Emmanuel asked the Prime Minister if there is any possibility that there are people with the COVID-19 but that is not yet known to the health care professionals. Emmanuel also wants to know what the turn around time for testing and exactly what agreements were made with the neighboring islands.
The National Alliance MP wants to know the capacity of SMMC, and he also informed Parliament that he believes that schools on the Dutch side should be closed with immediate effect since he is worried about the younger persons in the community.
MP Raeyhon Peterson wants to know why government is not looking into assisting the local labs with the machinery they need to conduct the COVID-19 tests. He said he understands government has some sort of agreement with the French side but asked what if the borders are closed. Peterson made clear that he will not support the closing of the Dutch/ French borders since families are intertwined.