GREAT BAY – Prime Minister William Marlin reacted – as was to be expected – to the press briefing of opposition MP Claret Connor who earlier this week criticized Marlin’s position on the Integrity Chamber. He also had not a good word for the Pearl of China project, saying that it would put local businesses at risk.
Marlin was on familiar ground with the Integrity Chamber issue. Where Connor had suggested that he had flip-flopped (against in opposition, in favor in his current position), Marlin reiterated the explanation he had earlier given in Parliament. His objection was not against the Integrity Chamber but against the protocol signed in 2015 by Minister Dennis Richardson that sidelined the Parliament in the decision making process.
“The UP-party flip-flopped more than anyone else,” Marlin said. They got us into this bind with the Netherlands. It was their minister who signed the protocol that sidelined the Parliament. And when it came to a vote the UP never saw to it that the changes they proposed were taken up into the law. They voted for it as is.”
Marlin repeated that he was against the proposal at the time because it bound the Parliament to an agreement made between the two countries – the Netherlands and St. Maarten. “MP Connor can call press briefings and attempt to muddy the waters but it remains what it is.”
Marlin said that, based on the advice from the Council of State, no quartermaster has been appointed by either country and that local civil servants had drafted the new Integrity Chamber law. “The Hague has responded and now the process is moving forward,” he said, adding that the responsibility to establish laws is with Parliament.
Marlin called MP Connor’s criticism of the Pearl of China project a baseless form a scaremongering.