NOVEMBER 16, 2017
The signing of the border control agreement reveals an egoistic and self serving fight over the backs of the people of St. Maarten.
All is well, that ends well, one could quickly say, following the news that the government of St. Maarten finally signed the agreement with the Netherlands on the border control. However, we are not at the end of this “stand-off”, that started with Prime Minister Marlin’s blunt refusal to even discuss the preconditions set by the Dutch government to the release of reconstruction funds. A lot of valuable time has been lost.
And the government continues to spend money it does not have… On paper it might sound good, but in reality St. Maarten is facing a crisis. All around us, we are seeing the results of the government’s lack of perspective.
The people of St. Maarten during these difficult times were being called to rally against what the Prime Minister called blackmail. Anyone who stood up against this stance of the Prime Minister was reprimanded as anti-St. Maarten.
The Prime Minister coerced the Finance and Justice Ministers against their better judgement to “play along”, over the backs of our people.
It was not about the conditions set by the Netherlands, it was a chance to put up an egoistic and self serving fight.
It took a stance by members of parliament to say “enough is enough”. Could it have been solved in the Marlin coalition? No, because the lines were clearly drawn. You were either for or against the conditions and thus for or against the Dutch aid. From day one it was clear that there would be no compromise.
Opponents of the stance taken by the Prime Minister were accused of “selling their souls for a few pieces of silver”. Imagine!
And then to add insult to injury.
Because the government’s actions were disapproved of by Parliament, the government saw it fit to dissolve parliament and decree elections. The inconsistencies and outright illegalities of this decision are as glaring as can be. And then to blame it on the laws not being in synch with the constitution?
While the notorious article 59 of our constitution in the mind of the government (when convenient) is untouchable, the government changed the election date and said it was “due to practicalities”.
But better yet, if parties would agree to a national government, then the election “could be canceled all together”, the Government leader claims.
The Parliament is still awaiting the Integrity chamber draft ordinance from the government. What game will now be played? If Parliament does not receive this draft, it can’t handle it and this will create another road block.
Today the Justice Minister proudly announces the signing of the border control agreement. That’s his responsibility, clearly, but does he not at least owe the people an explanation?
All that sabre-rattling was but a sick game. I want to see how the Integrity Chamber ordinance will go, also in Parliament. Will games be played there too?
2 months and 10 days after hurricane Irma we are where we are, stressed, anxious, mad, faced with unwanted elections because the Prime Minister decided to act out his imaginary battle for autonomy against the Dutch, when we could least afford it.