SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel on Thursday said that besides proving on numerous occasions that it is untrustworthy and deceitful, the current National Alliance-led government of St. Maarten apparently wants to embrace the label of corrupt as a result of its ongoing nefarious efforts to try and save a Minister of VROMI who is obviously beyond saving.
Emmanuel said it is “beyond the pale” the lengths that the government and MP’s that support the government is going to undermine and dismiss the Ombudsman report on the tendering process for solid waste disposal, while at the same time trying to willfully diminish the standing of the Ombudsman.
The MP said he could not believe the performance staged by the MP’s of the National Alliance led government in Parliament on Wednesday. In particular, he said, the call of one Alliance MP to have the Ombudsman questioned as if it is an interrogation was extremely belittling to a high Council of State.
The Ombudsman, Emmanuel explained, does not “pick up from one day to the next” and decide that she will make up a story, “formulate it into a report” and submit it to Parliament and the Council of Ministers.
“Months and months of back and forth with the Minister of VROMI, not getting cooperation, not getting answers to questions asked. There is a thorough process to get to a final report in which the Minister had ample opportunity to come clean. That report is apparently not worth the paper it is written on because the Ombudsman, if you were to listen to the Minister of VROMI and the MP’s supporting him, has some sort of agenda,” Emmanuel said.
The MP said the cover up of the compromised bidding process began from the moment he disclosed several wrong-doings in connection with the bidding process more than a year ago. “From those days to now, it is still the same behavior. Documents missing, shady deals going down and government doing their utmost to cover everything up with weak, flimsy explanations that hold no water,” Emmanuel said.
He added that the Minister of VROMI literally had one job in the face of constant questioning of the bidding process: tell the truth and provide the information requested. “Instead, we get statements that documents have been altered. Really? How? And for something to be altered, means that it was altered from something authentic. So present the originals then if the documents in the possession of Parliament are altered. Also, let us know if these documents with signatures were included in the dossier sent to the Governor for signing. Simply making claims and hoping people will buy it, just won’t cut it,” Emmanuel said.
Anyone, the MP continued, that read the Ombudsman report can clearly deduce that bid-rigging took place. We have yet to see evidence of the contrary. Yet the government and their support in Parliament keeps spinning stories that make no sense, trying to save a Minister who has repeatedly shown that he does not care, he will do things his way,” Emmanuel added.
Additionally, Emmanuel pointed out that statements by MP Rolando Brison on the floor of Parliament should leave no doubt in the public’s mind about what drives this coalition government. “MP Brison said it plainly and blatantly on the floor of Parliament. In his rant asking the VROMI Minister to show contrition, the MP reminded the Minister that two MPs decided to join the coalition for him (Doran). So not to so-call strengthen the coalition as he professed weeks ago, but a cabal to save the VROMI Minister,” Emmanuel said.
“In addition to recordings of the past and others instances of reckless governing and comments, that latest comment should remind the people what this government is about. Here we have the Minister’s cheerleader in Parliament asking and pleading with him to show contrition, while reminding him that some new coalition that nobody knows about is coming into existence to save him (Doran). And after you helped the same Minister paint a false narrative against the Ombudsman, you are begging the Minister to show contrition? Saying sorry can only hold up as a crutch for so long.”
“Hiding and spinning the wrong-doings that went on with this bidding process is corrupt. Putting two members of your cabinet on the team to evaluate bids is corrupt. Because that means they are an extension of you, effectively placing you directly in a process no Minister had ever involved themselves in. It’s corrupt. Re-qualifying disqualified companies is corrupt. Hiding scoring sheets and not including information to the Ombudsman and apparently the Governor is corrupt,” the MP concluded.