PHILIPSBURG – On Sunday Leader of the United People’s (UP) Party Member of Parliament Hon. Theo Heyliger issued the following statement. “Through an instruction issued to the Governor of St. Maarten last week, the Dutch Government has, on the basis of its earlier initiated character assassination of my person, progressed into an action to ensure that it can prevent my person from becoming the next Prime Minister of St. Maarten.
“The measure, void of any legal basis, is drafted to ensure that the screening of Ministers and Prime-Minister to be appointed for the Government of St. Maarten for the governing period 2014-2018 only is executed by the Dutch Government, without whose approval, the Governor is not permitted to sign the National decree of appointment.
?The measure states that the Candidate Minister must provide an unrestricted permission to the investigating experts of the Dutch Government to undertake a screening of the candidate and its family members for an undefined period of time, through an undefined method of investigation, with yet to be established screening parameters. An investigation method not even permitted within our Criminal Code.
“It is therefore very clear that this measure is created to determine the screening process and its parameters with pre-existing bias to ensure that the screening process cannot be passed by my person. The so called “mafia” as I am being referred to should never be able to pass the screening even if no objections exist against my person. A system is being created where you can be accused, tried, and convicted without ever having a possibility to defend yourself.
“It is clear that this measure, whilst intended to keep my person from being the next Prime-Minister, is violating our Constitution, the regulations regarding screening of Ministers and our Criminal Code and can in the future be used against anyone at random. This measure therefore will be placed before the Parliament of St. Maarten for debate.
“I am not against screening of minister candidates. The instruction to the governor for what is in essence a pre-screening can only be considered an infringement of St. Maarten's autonomy, he said.
“With the way the Dutch are behaving, I truly ask myself why hold elections every four years. Why not simply have the Dutch government and Dutch MP’s who know nothing about St. Maarten, but want to be dictators, just pick a government for us?
“This instruction for the so-called thorough screening truly shows that the Dutch government is on a no-holds barred witch hunt with me as a primary target. The PricewaterhouseCoopers Integrity report did not yield any glaring integrity issues the Dutch government was rooting for. This instruction to the governor is their follow-up attack to try to tarnish our country and her people further.
“What is amazing is we didn't hear a word from the Dutch when a convicted person was serving in Parliament in the last term. The people of St. Maarten have also not heard any support or sympathy from the Dutch government after having endured hurricane Gonzalo and suffered so much personal property damage and threats to life.
“It is also amazing that the Dutch behaves as though the Netherlands is the bastion of integrity when it is well known about the representatives of various Dutch political parties who have had to resign from office or from politics completely due to illegal actions.
“The UP will continue the push to get a conflict resolution commission for the Kingdom. Such a commission has been called for by Aruba and Curacao as well as St. Maarten and enshrined in motions before all three parliaments.
“We are supposed to be equal partners, but we are anything but that as this recent instruction to the governor shows. The current coalition remains committed to reviewing the executing the recommendations of the Wit-Samson Integrity Report, the PricewaterhouseCoopers Integrity Report and the one of the General Audit Chamber.
“We are a four-year-old country battling against a bigger country with colonial views. I'm very much reminded of the struggle my grandfather the late Dr. Claude Wathey faced.
“Any measure, even if taken by the Dutch Government, must be in compliance with Good Governance and may at no time infringe on our fundamental human rights.
“The Dutch Government has without any proof branded my person as being the mafia or having links with the mafia. This is slander yet given the fact that those to whom I would have to address my claim are appointed by the same Dutch Government engaging in these slanderous acts.
“The Dutch Government may get away with attempts at discrediting my name and person, but we will ensure that the DutchGovernment will be held liable for any and all damages that its unconstitutional intrusion causes this Country and its people.
“Every legal avenue will be utilized to ensure that our right of self-determination is respected, as well as the rights set forth in our constitution and laws. We will seek redress outside the Kingdom with respect to the blatant disrespect for our Constitution and get the support of a country to bring this matter before the international community of nations.
“Together with my coalition partners we have embarked on following the right process for forming of the Government of St. Maarten. An open process in accordance to the law is being followed to present to the people of St. Maarten a capable, strong and stable government.
“I will work with undeterred determination to safeguard the people of this Country and the institutions of our parliamentary democracy. I will stay true to my promises to the people of this Country and shall through transparency and with integrity restore their faith in their Government.” (Contributed by the Leader of the UP Party Member of Parliament Hon. Theo Heyliger)