St. Maarten – While Prime Minister William Marlin used his New Year’s address for a venomous attack on the previous government, United People’s party leader Theo Heyliger responded in kind.
“On December 14, 2015 the right of the people was taken away by the Marlin-Cabinet to go to the polls in February. This was done out of self-interests and opportunism while the economy and the people of the country are left to suffer,” Heyliger said in a press statement that began with the best wishes for everyone.
Heyliger notes that preparations were well underway for the people to go to the polls in February. “With the change of government we now live in a time of uncertainty.”
The UP-leader observes that moving the elections “was not done in the interests of the people as they like to preach, because the people wanted to go to the polls in February. The business community came out and favored elections in February, because they know that the economy of the country needs stability in order for it to grow.”
Heyliger said that December 14, 2015 will “forever be a dark day in the democratic and constitutional history of our country. This was a defining moment and the people will not forget. The UP faction in parliament fully supports electoral reform but not in a Band-Aid format. We will question every detail of the Marlin-Cabinet’s Band-Aid solution and hold the government accountable when the time comes.”
Heyliger announced that the country can expect “strong opposition during the next nine months,” adding that the fate of the two UP-faction members who defected in September (Maurice Lake and Silvio Matser – ed.) “are now in the hands of the people of this country.”
“Today, we sit as members of the opposition and we are ready to fulfill this role. We will fight to make sure that the people’s quality of life does not deteriorate under this current government. We will point out where this government is going wrong and propose ways and means that will provide the country with opportunities,” Heyliger said.
The UP-leader said that the Marlin-Cabinet has 100 days to get its act together and produce. “We will hold them accountable for every decision taken.”
In spite of all the criticism of the new government, Heyliger notes that “we must work together” to move the country forward. “Our agendas must provide opportunities to continue to improve the quality of life for our people. We are still waiting to see what the coalition of eight will achieve during the next nine months because according to them, the Marcel Gumbs cabinet did not achieve anything during its nine months in government.”
Heyliger obviously does not agree with that observation. “The Marcel Gumbs cabinet set a number of things in motion clearing the way to deal with the challenges being faced by our country. This process would take time, not three, six or nine months. Responsible and viable options that would build a sustainable economy and nation were being put in place until opportunism and self-interests took over.”
Heyliger says that the country is facing uncertainty under the Marlin-Government. “We are confident that with the hard work of the people of St. Maarten along with the business community, we will be able to overcome this and provide some semblance of stability until September 2016 when the people will decide the fate of those who took away their right based on opportunism and self-interests.”
The UP-leader noted that 2016 should be a year “where the community and the business sector work together for a better St. Maarten. “Significant progress must be made to balance the budget, reduce crime, create jobs, improve healthcare, and realign education, youth welfare and much more. The government had its responsibility and we will hold it accountable.”