PHILIPSBURG:--- Independent MP Christopher Emmanuel, supported by the MP’s representing the USP Faction in Parliament Claudius Buncamper and Akeem Arrindell, has forwarded a letter to the Chairperson of Parliament requesting a Central Committee meeting to discuss the Caribbean Body for Reform & Development (COHO), the law supporting this entity and the country packages.
The letter reads as follows:
“On Tuesday, December 21, 2020, the Prime Minister Of St. Maarten and Minister of General Affairs Silveria Jacobs signed an agreement with the Netherlands for liquidity support (third tranche). The agreement also gave St. Maarten's consent for the Dutch government to establish the Caribbean Body for Reform & Development (COHO) in the Netherlands which reportedly will oversee numerous reform initiatives outlined in-country packages for St. Maarten, Aruba, and Curacao.
The Prime Minister has since, via the media, made several comments pertaining to how informed the Parliament of St. Maarten is with reference to the COHO and country packages. To be more specific, the Prime Minister has said on more than one occasion that Parliament has been apprised of all developments regarding the COHO and the country packages. Contrary to these statements by the Prime Minister, the undersigned members of Parliament have not been informed about developments regarding the COHO and any related matters thereto.
Furthermore, on January 10, 2021, the Prime Minister was quoted in the media as stating: “This marks a new beginning for the Netherlands and St. Maarten as we embark together on this mutual agreement. The government of St. Maarten identifies and acknowledges the opportunity to make St. Maarten resilient through structural reforms. As such, we are developing our implementation strategy for the package of reforms which is to be complementary to the projects and initiatives already in place via the Trust Fund and World Bank."
The statement of the Prime Minister and that of others such as State Secretary Raymond Knops opens a box of questions that must be answered and clarified to Parliament and by extension to the people of St. Maarten.
As such and considering that deadlines have already been identified for the trajectory of the reforms without Parliament's input or information being provided to Parliament about same, the undersigned hereby requests an urgent Central Committee meeting be convened to discuss the COHO, the COHO law, and country packages. The Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs Silveria Jacobs should be invited to this meeting to answer Parliament's questions.”