SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) —To read an article that shows a Member of Parliament in The Hague questioning our Party’s Leader for interacting with a Citizen of St. Maarten, and making that a focal point for discussion, at a time when our people are suffering through a global pandemic, economic decline, job loss, homelessness and an uncertain future, belittles the integrity of our elected leaders.
The UP Party issued the press release Sunday evening saying it found the article that appeared in the local newspaper portrayed an arrogant insistence by Dutch Politicians that they can dictate every action our elected officials take, without regard for the masses who they represent.
“The Honorable Rolando Bryson as President of Parliament has a responsibility to all Citizens of this Country and no one should be telling grown people who they can and cannot be in contact with. Whatever the Dutch Government’s gripe or burden with Francesco Corallo is not for the citizens of St. Maarten or its politicians to carry. It is unreasonable to assume that as members of our small community, we cannot be cordial with each other or risk ridicule by the Dutch Government. Whatever their agenda, it is for them to address on their own terms,” the release stated.
Mr. Corallo is a major contributor to St. Maarten’s economic development through his various business initiatives that have kept hundreds of people employed even at a time when thousands have been laid off.
According to the UP Party, “We remind the Dutch Government of the European Union EU Directive 2016/343 / EU of 9 March 2016, in Art. 4, which requires member states to 'take the necessary measures to ensure that, until the guilt of a suspect or accused person has been legally proven, public statements made by public authorities and judicial decisions other than those on guilt do not condemn the people as guilty.”
“We the United People’s Party formally declare this to be an insult to the intelligence of our people. The Dutch Government through its financial assistance has made many unreasonable demands in exchange for helping the people and Government of St. Maarten address its financial shortfalls.
“Challenges that were magnified because of COVID-19, forced us to accept these conditions, which we are well aware constantly change after being met. However, to tell our politicians and parliamentarians they cannot associate with certain citizens of this country, or to suggest that by doing so they are doing something wrong/illegal is not a condition we will accept.”
The UP Party stands firmly in support of its Members of Parliament in their pursuit for Decolonization and in their efforts to bring public and private sector organizations together especially in this dark economic time. We urge the citizens of St. Maarten to recognize that though it is not a popular and exciting topic, finalizing the Decolonization of St. Maarten is even more important today as is evident by the boldfaced insinuation that our Political leaders should not speak to some of the citizens of this country. To do this is besmirch one’s character. As far as we are aware every citizen has a legal right to a defense and innocent or guilty, is the role of the Court.
This is neither democracy or politics but rather a petty attempt at slowing the process of rebuilding St. Maarten and keep us dependent.
The UP Party said it has not been critical of the Dutch Government after their new Cabinet fell in ruins over a scandal, but noted that “it does teach a valuable lesson. When your neighbors house is on fire, don’t celebrate before you wet yours down.”
MP Bryson has nothing to hide and has a responsibility to represent the people of this country, whether they elected him or not. The nature of the conversation he had with the businessman could have been about anything including ensuring that the people in his employ are being cared for and have job security. After all, he was elected into office to serve the people.