PHILIPSBURG:— Prime Minister of St. Maarten William Marlin who returned from the Netherlands after meeting with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte, Minister of Interior and Kingdom Relations and also addressing the Kingdom Council of Ministers about the instruction the Kingdom imposed on St. Maarten gave reporters on Friday and full view of what transpired in the Netherlands last Friday, April 7th 2017
Prime Minister Marlin said when he met with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte, the meeting lasted about 9 minutes and the Prime Minister dealt with him in a very hostile manner, he said that the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte who is also the chairman of the Kingdom Council basically told him that if St. Maarten does not want to abide by the rules of the Kingdom then St. Maarten should get out of the Kingdom. He said the Prime Minister of the Netherlands said he is tired of St. Maarten whining around the matter of establishing the integrity chamber.
Marlin said he explained the Kingdom Council that the protocol signed in 2015, was fully respected by St. Maarten until the Constitutional Court scrapped it because it will invade the privacy of people.
The Prime Minister said that when he met with Minister Plasterk on Thursday, Plasterk basically told him that he was sure that St. Maarten was getting an instruction, Marlin said that when a Minister could vouch on the outcome of a meeting that had not yet taken place then one has to know what was going on.
He said that while the instruction is sent to the Council of State for Advice St. Maarten could appeal but wonders if that would serve the country anything because the Kingdom Council already made their position clear, which is even if the Council of State gave a negative advice they will ignore it and go ahead with issuing an instruction.
Marlin stressed that if the Kingdom wants to continue with that route then he has one message for them, and that is they would have to send their troops to St. Maarten to execute their instruction.
Marlin said on Monday, the Dutch representative Chris Johnson visited him to deliver a verbal message which is to let him know that Minister Plasterk did not like his statements when he said prior to his departure that the Kingdom would have to send down their troops to St. Maarten if they issued an instruction. Marlin made clear he is not going to war with anyone but certainly St. Maarten will not be cooperating with the Dutch with the instruction they are issuing based on a protocol that the Constitutional Court squashed. Marlin said he informed the Dutch representative that he must tell Plasterk that he (Marlin) did not accept his message and whatever he has to say to St. Maarten must be done in writing.
Marlin said that there comes a time when someone has to stand up just like “Rosa Parks” did years ago and get up from the back of the bus to bring about change.
Marlin made clear that the government of St. Maarten will not engage in endless fights with the Kingdom and if they intend to discuss his statements, then he would invite them to also discuss what the Prime Minister of the Netherlands told him and how he treated him.
He also said a professor and other lawyers have contacted the government of St. Maarten offering support since they also believe the Kingdom is wrong in their approach. He said that the Kingdom Council should also invite that law professor and let him shed some light so they could see where they are wrong.
Asked by SMN News if St. Maarten will opt to take the same course as St. Eustatius, Marlin said his governing program does not have anything about Independence in it and as such he is not in a position to just go and take that decision. Marlin said if it comes to that the people of St. Maarten would have to be consulted via referendum. However, he made clear that Mark Rutte cannot kick St. Maarten out of the Kingdom, he does not have that prerogative. Besides that he said St. Maarten has a lot on its plate all of which are priorities of the government, integrity, crime, the dump, and several other projects have government’s attention and at this moment government will focus on the things that are of importance to the country. St. Maarten’s Prime Minister also made clear that the statements made by the Prime Minister of the Netherlands will not scare him off.