SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – During last Thursday’s public meeting of Parliament, the Chair of Parliament, William Marlin, requested Deputy Prime Minister, Wycliffe Smith, to leave and get the written answers to the questions posed by Members of Parliament concerning the state of affairs at the Princess Julian International Airport and to return to Parliament with them in an hour’s time.

Smith was also asked to return with advisors Claret Conner and Able Knottnerus from the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB). Chairman William Marlin then adjourned the public meeting at 3:00 pm and promised to reconvene the meeting in an hour’s time, upon the return of Deputy PM Smith.

When Smith returned to the Parliament Building at 4:00 pm, one hour later, he saw, to his amazement, that Members of Parliament were filing out of the Legislative Hall. Strange enough, the Chairman of Parliament, William Marlin, was nowhere to be seen.

The MP’s of the newly formed Coalition of nine, on their way out of the Hall, passed Smith with a smile or a smirk on their faces. Smith said that the only MP who had the courtesy to shake his hand, apologize and to officially inform him that the meeting had been reconvened and immediately adjourned until a later date, was the Leader of the USP, Member of Parliament, Frans Richardson.

If the Chairman could have waited some 40 minutes for the Deputy PM to arrive to attend the first part of the meeting, surely he could have waited until the agreed upon hour that Smith was to return to Parliament to provide the requested written answers that the Chairman seemingly so desperately needed to have during the meeting.

Smith was not the only one caught by surprise. MP’s Wescot-Williams, Leonard and Bijlani were in their offices awaiting the 4 o’clock hour. However, by the time they got to the Legislative Hall the meeting had been re-opened and adjourned within 51 seconds. Smith said that as Deputy PM he complied with the request of Parliament. He said that he had returned with the requested written answers and was also accompanied, as requested, by the two advisors from the NRPB who were following very close behind.

What really happened? The Griffier of Parliament explained Deputy PM Smith that the clock in the Legislative Hall is known to be two minutes fast. It appears, according to Smith that in order not to receive the answers, because seemingly it was not about the answers in the first place, the Chairman re-opened the meeting at 4:00 pm according to the Parliament’s clock, which was 3:58 normal time.

Smith said he replayed the video of the meeting and timed its duration The meeting lasted exactly 51 seconds. In other words by 3:59 the meeting was adjourned. According to Smith it appears as if the matter of the airport is not being taken seriously by Parliament.

Source: Souliga Newsday