~ Political turmoil over Dutch aid caused split in NA/USP/DP coalition government ~
PHILIPSBURG:— The political turmoil that started weeks ago over financial assistance by the Kingdom Government has caused a fracture in the current coalition. SMN News learned from unconfirmed sources that Chanel Brownbill met with the USP Sunday night and assured his party that he was not going to jump ship but by midday on Monday it is understood that MP Brownbill informed his party leader that he was leaving the party to become an Independent Member of Parliament and he will join forces with the Democratic Party.
On Monday leaders of the current coalition flocked the government administration building to discuss the fall of the government. When Prime Minister William Marlin returned to the Government Administration Building he was seen meeting with USP leader Frans Richardson in a vehicle outside of the building.
SMN News learned that the USP and NA met with Brownbill Sunday night to trash out their differences. Meanwhile, Leader of the DP Sarah Wescot Williams met with Governor Holiday based on an invitation from the Governor. Prime Minister Marlin also met with the Governor on Monday.
According to information provided to SMN News, the NA and USP chose to stand their ground with regards to the financial aid from the Kingdom Government even though Members of Parliament especially the leader of the Democratic Party Sarah Wescot Williams made it clear on Friday that she has had enough and has decided to take the high road.
The Dutch government is forcing its will on St. Maarten with regards to the Integrity Chamber and Border Control as conditions for financial aid but to date, the Kingdom has not informed St. Maarten how much they intend to give St. Maarten as financial assistance to rebuild the country.
The political turmoil which basically boiled over last week in Parliament started quite some time now as the Democratic Party leader was clearly picking on her coalition partners during parliamentary meetings but failed to address the incompetence coming from the Minister of VSA. Wescot Williams has on numerous occasions chose to use the media to pose questions to her coalition partners while the coalition meets every Monday.
Even though the tension has built up and the DP leader said she was ready to take the high road last Friday, to date no confirmation was given on the current split.
Source: St. Martin News Network http://www.smn-news.com/st-maarten-st-martin-news/27502-exclusive-na-usp-dp-government-toppled-over-dutch-financial-aid.html