SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel wants the Minister of Public Health Richard Panneflek and Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs to explain to the public why an Australian is being recruited for the Director position at the St. Maarten Medical Center and a Dutchman as Head of Repression at the Fire Department. The hospital falls under the responsibility of Panneflek, while the Fire Department under the Prime Minister.
MP Emmanuel also wants Panneflek to confirm or deny if the board of the SMMC has negotiated a NAf 500,000 “golden handshake” payout to the Director of SMMC Kees Klarenbeek who has been off duty for more than a year due to medical reasons. This “handshake” he said, is being proposed by Klarenbeek’s two closest friends on the board, namely the Chairman of the board Richard Jan James and Jim Rosen.
He said that he was made to understand that the board of SMMC has contracted the firm Deloitte Dutch Caribbean out of Curacao to execute the recruitment of a new Director, a position which has been carried out by Dr. Felix Holiday in the absence of Klarenbeek.
“Apparently, there is a foreign board member in the person of Jim Rosen who is calling the shots at SMMC and who is not standing behind Dr. Felix Holiday for Director. Here we go again with this ridiculous practice of a foreigner who came here and got positions through political friendships, keeping my people down and out of positions they deserve. This is who is in the way of one of St. Maarten’s finest taking over the helm at SMMC, in favor for an Australian. This must be a bad joke,” Emmanuel said.
“Why even conduct a recruitment drive if Holiday has been doing the job? Just make the man the Director, he is more than qualified and has been doing the job for the past year and a half since Klarenbeek has been out. We have to stop this nonsense of letting others step all over our people. We have to stop being silent when these things are happening. I for one will never be silent and I want a public explanation from the Minister,” the MP noted. He also reminded that he has asked Minister Panneflek several questions about the tenure of Klarenbeek and has yet to receive any answers.
As for the Fire Department, the MP said it is hard to believe that St. Maarten does not have a local candidate to fill the position of Head of Repression and called on the Prime Minister to “show some spine” and protect her people.
“There is a time and place for recruitment of people and then there is just plain out making sure St. Maarten people are placed plain and simple. We act as if we always have to spend money on firms to go through a bunch of candidates from all over the world. If we have the local in house who can do the job, give it to the local.
“What is so wrong with our people that they are always thought of last? The Fire Department must have local personnel who can be Head of Repression. Why bring in a Dutchman and give him the salary that a local deserves and earned? We have to think of these things in terms of building our nation and putting our people in positions to be the leaders of this nation on all levels. When are we going to stop subjugating them to onlookers while others rise above them? I expect public answers on all of the above,” the MP concluded.