“I want to make clear that there is a government in place, all I wanted is support to approve the 2016 draft budget”
PHILIPSBURG:— Prime Minister William Marlin dispelled the allegations and rumors and even statements made during a radio program on Friday that he went tried to form a government on Thursday with the United Peoples Party. Marlin said on Wednesday when MP Silvio Matser was arrested at least two MPs from the coalition approached MP Lloyd Richardson and asked him to give the government his support to continue with the budget debate and to approve the draft 2016 budget. Marlin said he personally did not approach anyone but was aware that two MPs had approached MP Lloyd Richardson because they believe that MP Richardson did not have anything against the draft budget based on his statements made on the floor of parliament. Marlin said besides that when MP Lloyd Richardson was member of National Alliance he voted for the budget presented by the former government.
As for the events on Thursday Marlin said he was having lunch at a restaurant on the French side when he got a telephone call from MP Lloyd Richardson who told him that he wanted to meet with him. Marlin said that right now his interest is to seek support for the draft 2016 budget so when he got the call from MP Lloyd Richardson he agreed to meet with him. He said he asked MP Richardson where he should meet him and the MP told him to meet him at his home. Marlin said he along with the other Minister drove to Saunders where MP Richardson lives to see if they would get his support for the draft budget. He said when he reached there MP Richardson got into his car and they began driving and MP Richardson told him to drive towards Pointe Blanche, he said when they reached Pointe Blanche MP Richardson told him to pull aside because MP Theodore Heyliger was going to join them. Marlin said he did as he was asked and when MP Heyliger got into the vehicle they began making several proposals to him and the other Minister that was with him one being that they want to form a national government with the four political parties namely, the NA, DP, USP and UPP and leave out the Independent members of parliament and if that is done they will postpone the upcoming elections to 2018 since they would need time to prepare electoral reform, the second proposal was that the UPP will support the draft budget but then government must then dissolve the Parliament of St. Maarten and call for new elections immediately. Marlin said after these proposals were made the Minister that was with him, asked the two Members of Parliament that was in his vehicle what was it they wanted, and it was then that the UPP leader told them that if they form the national government they want to have the Ministry of TEATT and VROMI. Marlin said only at that point he reacted and it was with a huge laugh. The Prime Minister said the driving meeting did not last very long and he drove back to the location where he picked up MP Heyliger to drop him off and at that point MP Heyliger told him that he will take MP Richardson back home. He said St. Maarten has a government, and there is no need for him to try to form a government, he made clear that the only crisis the country is facing is that one of their coalition members was arrested on the morning the draft budget would have been debated and voted upon.
Marlin said an approved budget is extremely important for the country and its people. He said the CFT already vetted the budget and their suggestions and recommendations have been incorporated in the draft 2016 budget. He said the draft budget is balanced and so far no Member of Parliament brought forward any argument where the draft budget could or would not get their support. Marlin stressed that it is important for the country to have an approved budget and also comply with the instructions that were imposed on the former government by the Kingdom Council of Ministers.
Marlin said if the budget is approved then it will enable the government to manage the day to day affairs of the people but it will also make it possible for government to invest more than Naf.55M into the economy, they will be able to provide more jobs, allow them to create new jobs for the young people while they could work on the road infrastructure, repair schools and sports facilities and finally increase the GDP of St. Maarten significantly. Marlin further stated that the Chairlady of Parliament will be meeting with the faction leaders of Parliament on Monday and after that the public session of parliament will be called to debate and voted upon.
Marlin said that the timing of MP Master’s arrest has placed national interest of the country at stake since the government does not have a full majority in parliament to approve its budget. He said that based on what he has been hearing procedures were not followed and it makes one frown as to how the arrests were made. Marlin said the prosecutor office have been investigating the case close to two years now, ten months ago they finalized the investigation but yet those in charge did not see it fit to seek a warrant for the arrest and searches. He said he was in Parliament last Wednesday and he saw a team in Parliament who wanted to conduct a search but that team apparently did not have a warrant to conduct the search so they sealed off the office of MP Matser until they were able to obtain a warrant from the court. Marlin said if the prosecutor office could have waited for ten months before they started to arrest people, they could have waited a day or two more until the budget was approved. He said he cannot believe that the prosecutor’s office did not know that budget debate was taking place on the morning of the arrest. Marlin said he is not in a position to question the procedures but the timing of the arrest makes people frown.
Asked if his government of this country would consider filing a case of arbitrary with the United Nations against the Netherlands for all of the things they are trying to impose on St. Maarten illegally? Marlin said he is not looking for a fight with anyone, neither is he contesting the investigation and or arrest of the MP. He said his only concern is how it was done. Asked if he believes that Attorney General Guus Schram made the arrests on purpose on Wednesday morning to get back against his government because he was the one that tabled a motion in parliament against the statements Schram made about undermining in St. Maarten, Marlin said he simply dont know.
Source: St. Martin News Network Prime Minister William Marlin dispel the allegations that he tried to form a government with the UPP — UPP Leader and MP Lloyd Richardson made several proposals to form national government.