THE HAGUE–Members of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party and Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP) said on Friday they didn’t think that holding elections in St. Maarten at this time was the right thing to do.
“Deciding to have early elections is really uncalled for. The focus, energy and money should instead be directed at rebuilding St. Maarten. Elections will diffuse the attention for what really should be taking place: rebuilding the island after a horrendous hurricane. St. Maarten cannot use political games and political fights at this time,” Van Raak told The Daily Herald.
“I totally get it that the St. Maarten Parliament adopted a motion demanding the resignation of Prime Minister William Marlin. But what I don’t get is that Marlin has called for early elections. It creates unnecessary tension and it delays the process to initiate the Reconstruction Fund. Again no decision was taken in the best interest of the people who are already suffering enough,” said Bosman in an interview with this newspaper.
Bosman called it “very worrisome” that St. Maarten Governor Eugene Holiday had signed the National Decree to dissolve the Parliament and to call early elections on January 8, for in his opinion, it put the Governor’s independent position at stake.
Bosman and Van Raak commended their eight colleagues in St. Maarten for doing their job by adopting a motion of no-confidence against the Marlin government and agreeing to the Dutch conditions so the Reconstruction Fund can be established and financed by the Dutch Government.
“I find it very courageous of the eight Members of Parliament. It shows that the Parliamentary democracy is really at work when a government fails to do its job. It is the task of the government to take care of its citizens. It is very good and courageous that the Parliament has now taken action in the people’s interest,” said Van Raak.
“The Parliament did well. The eight members saw the needs of the people and decided we have to move on in their best interest. The Parliament showed courage to see this through by adopting the motions. I have deep respect for that,” said Bosman.
The Second Chamber fully backs the Dutch Government in maintaining the position that the St. Maarten Government has to give its explicit approval to carry out the Dutch conditions attached to the establishing of the Reconstruction Fund, namely the setting up of the Integrity Chamber and the strengthening of the border control with Royal Dutch Marechaussee and Customs.
“The conditions are clear and very necessary. We have to make sure the money doesn’t end up in the wrong pockets. Once the terms have received explicit approval of the St. Maarten Government, the fund should be able to get off the ground at once,” said Van Raak.
In an interview on NPO Radio 1 on Thursday, Van Raak explained why the Recovery Fund and the Dutch conditions were so important. “St. Maarten is unable to rebuild on its own. The goal is to involve the population as much as possible in the reconstruction,” he said.
The additional control on the finances and the border are aimed at making sure that the jobs go to the local people, Van Raak said. “These jobs are much needed because the tourism sector has collapsed. We have to ensure that the reconstruction creates jobs for the people on the island and to get the economy going again,”
According to Bosman, the St. Maarten Government is solely to blame for the delay of the Recovery Fund. “It is so very sad that this is happening. The ball is in St. Maarten’s court; it is the government’s own choice. The St. Maarten Government cannot put the blame on the Netherlands. There is no unwillingness on our side.
“The St. Maarten Government didn’t go along with the conditions just because the personal interests of a few politicians were deemed more important than the urgent needs of the people. It is a bloody shame,” said Bosman.
The issue of the Reconstruction Fund and the political crisis in St. Maarten will surely come up during the handling of the 2018 draft budget for Kingdom Relation in the Second Chamber next week Tuesday and Wednesday.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/70709-elections-are-a-bad-idea-say-bosman-van-raak