SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams wants to hear the side from the St. Maarten government following the trip to the Netherlands, the MP said in a press statement on Sunday.
“Is there a rapprochement between St. Maarten and the Netherlands or not? How quickly can we get the 5th tranche of liquidity assistance?
“It would seem as if even before the Kingdom Council of Ministers meeting was over, State Secretary Knops dispatched a report regarding the liquidity assistance to St. Maarten to the Second Chamber. This
letter tells a different story than one would get from the initial reaction to the press by both mandataries, PM Jacobs respectively Secretary Knops,” the MPs release said on Snday.
MP Wescot, following the different interviews and statements stated: “I am not sure what to think, after the reports coming out of the meeting of the Kingdom Council of Ministers of May 28th. Is there a rapprochement between St. Maarten and the Netherlands or not?”
“Maybe it was the body language by both the Prime Minister and the State Secretary that made the situation seem very confrontational and quite hopeless.
It was the culmination of a situation in which, in my opinion, the Prime Minister should have never allowed herself to be in”, MP Wescot opined.
“Getting back to Knops’ letter to the Second Chamber, there seem to be many nuances to what is being publicly admitted by the St. Maarten government representatives and the State Secretary. In both cases, there seem to have been some unhealthy political postering.”
I look forward to Prime Minister Jacobs’ prompt account of the agreements going forward, because that is what matters most at this time.
“Despite numerous requests, I have not received an updated liquidity position of the country, but I know from historic information and government’s own admission that we are severely cash-strapped, with real risks to the livelihood of many.”
Judging from what Knops told the Second Chamber, there is some understanding between St. Maarten and the Netherlands, and I request that the Prime Minister does like her counterpart and inform the parliament of St. Maarten of the current state of affairs post haste.
“I implore the Prime Minister not to hide behind arguments of confidentially and only if absolutely necessary, share the information with parliament behind closed doors. Apparently, there are steps that the government has agreed to. What are these steps and the timeline to accomplish these?”
The Prime Minister is keeping the cards “close to her chest”, because in her view it involves persons. While that might be so, for me what is important are the actions, not so much whom these actions regard. If the steps include evaluation of actions taken by board(s) of PJIA, then say so.
“Who is evaluating”, is another question that should be answered.
“How long will it take”, is also extremely important to know.
“We need to get clarity on the position of the Royal Schiphol Group. Has it been decided and agreed to, beyond the shadow of a doubt that they will remain involved? Or does it depend on the outcome of the government’s actions. Do we even know what it depends on?”
Again, there is no way this information can and should be held from the people of St. Maarten and the Parliament.
What about the reconstruction of the airport itself with all that is going on?
In concluding, Member of Parliament Wescot made the following appeal: “This is no longer a matter that only regards the Prime Minister and Chairlady of the Council of Ministers. The coalition government needs to get its act together. This obvious power play between the 2 levels in the coalition is hurting and embarrassing St. Maarten big time. I therefore repeat my call, made most recently in the meeting of parliament with Mr. P. Choharis, for this government to reassess its priorities, establish clear leadership and take a stance on our position as a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, both short term and long term.