~ Inspector General comes under fire for negative advice.~
PHILIPSBURG:--- Several Members of Parliament expressed their concerns on the planned reopening of the country on July 1st. Members of Parliament believe that St. Maarten should follow the European Union who banned US travelers due to the huge amount of positive cases in several US states.
Member of Parliament William Marlin made clear that he is not against the reopening of the country as he supports the decision of the government, however, Marlin asked if St. Maarten is fully prepared to handle visitors especially those coming from North America. Marlin said the government should consider pushing back the reopening for a week or two until everything is in place.
MP Buncamper asked if an agreement was reached with the French side or if the borders will close since France has banned US travelers for now. Buncamper highlighted that there are a number of states in the USA that have high numbers of active cases, one being Florid, Texas, and several other states that are still struggling to bring the virus under control.
In the meantime, President of Parliament Rolando Brison explained that while a date is set for the reopening, visitors will not be flocking the country on the very first day. Brison further explained that airlines do need a few weeks to plan and schedule their flights prior to the arrival date. Further to that, the chair of Parliament said that the government will be changing their plans as they move along.
The UP leader said that there is a huge section of the community that is not earning any money, especially those working in the tourism sector, and the government must take decisions to ensure those people can also earn a living. Brison said that the government cannot sit back and wait until the tap in the Netherlands run dry before starting to become self-sufficient.
During Brison’s short address he attacked high paying civil servants that are not working along with their Minister. Brison called out the Inspector General Dr. Earl Best whom he said is only giving negative advice but no solutions. He said that based on the advice the Inspector General wants the island to remain closed. The chair of parliament said one of the things that should be done is to withhold the salaries of these highly paid civil servants, further to that he asked if Dr. Best is working as a consultant for the Government of Curacao while being a permanent civil servant on St. Maarten. The chair of parliament also asked that the evaluation of Dr. Best for the past 5 years be turned over to parliament.
It should also be noted that while the country is reopening as of July 1st, St. Maarten can only conduct 1000 PCR tests in a month.
The meeting that was called on Tuesday to discuss the plans in place by the Ministry of VSA has adjourned and may continue later today or sometime this week.