MP Frans Richardson
~ Says DP manipulated young MP ~
PHILIPSBURG–United St. Maarten (US) party is imploring the people of St. Maarten not to fall for the “pretentious saintly act” being displayed by Democratic Party leader Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams.
“The leader of the Democratic Party has deployed irresponsible actions in a time when St. Maarten is in crisis, in a desperate power grab on the backs of the people of St. Maarten,” the US board said in a press release on Wednesday night.
US party leader Frans Richardson, supported by his board, said the public should pay keen attention to the manipulative ways Wescot-Williams has been employing the entire course of this year. He said it is ironic that Wescot-Williams “holds on to the word integrity like a medal” while she has been actively destabilising government for eight months. “The DP and its leader continue to make a mockery of the system, and not just now, over the past decade,” Richardson said.
He chided Wescot-Williams for going after and manipulating the younger members of Parliament with misinformation.
“This has been a coalition where members had to be constantly putting out fires caused by a sustained campaign of undermining by the DP. It started eight months ago and culminated last week,” Richardson said.
“Going after young MPs started long before Hurricane Irma. What the storm did was give the DP an opportunity to play on the information of the people and young MPs with misinformation. While Government is trying to govern in a crisis situation, here comes the DP with its typical irresponsible and undermining actions within the coalition.”
He asked the public not to forget that the same Wescot-Williams who railed against ship-jumping is now encouraging it to her own benefit again.
Richardson reminded the public of Wescot-Williams’ own words a few months ago. On September 18, 2016, she said of ship-jumping: “Much has been said about ship-jumping. However, there are always two sides, the demand and the supply. Those MPs offering their seat in support (the supply) of a new Government have had to encounter demand for the seat(s), otherwise there would be no deal. I have therefore concluded that if there is no demand by parties for jumpers’ seats, MPs would think twice before switching allegiances, because there would be no incentive for them to do so.”
Richardson said that in this case, “the demand obviously came from the DP and a young MP supplied it. If, as she says, there is no demand, then there is no supply.
“Wescot-Williams is a hypocrite to the highest degree, irresponsibly encouraging a young MP to jump ship, then framing it as a crisis within government.
“When you are asking why we would possibly be getting another election, you need to ask yourself, ‘Why has the DP primarily taken us down this road to another election?’ Do not let the manipulative leader of the DP get away with trying to fool you.”
Richardson also reminded that the integrity issue had not started under the leadership of Prime Minister William Marlin. Marlin, he said, is getting the tail end of a whip that was “cocked back” long before him.
“’Integrity this’ and ‘integrity that’ became an issue under the same people who are now trying to break Government again. That is where it started. This Government has balanced budgets, received positive reports from the [Committee for Financial Supervision – Ed.] CFT and more. None of that was accomplished before. But today we try to paint a picture like it all started with this Government. The Democratic Party is trying to deflect from a sordid history that belongs to it and it alone,” Richardson said.
Brownbill not resigned
In a separate press release the US Party board said its MP Chanel Brownbill, who ran on the slate of the US Party in the last parliamentary elections, but is now supporting the new coalition of eight, has not contacted the board, has not resigned from the party and has yet to let the board know what his intensions are.
“We don’t know why MP Brownbill did what he did. We do know he was manipulated into doing it. What’s done is done. The board and members of the US Party will continue to work diligently for the people of St. Maarten in or out of Government. The moves of one MP do not change that principle for us,” the party board said.
Richardson told Brownbill in Parliament on Wednesday evening that he respects him and understand that he wanted to take a stand. However, Richardson told Brownbill that he has pledged his support to a group who will use him for the short time and then destroy him. “They will not guide you and help you. They will eventually destroy you,” Richardson said.
The board registered its disappointment in Brownbill for the decision he had taken despite their having stood by him through everything and involved him in even more. The board said all effort had been made to surround Brownbill, a new MP, with the assistance and guidance he needs to be successful in Parliament.
“The party surrounded him with a legal expert and a legislative expert and former lawmaker. We made sure that the doors were always opened to him on both tiers of Government and maintained open and constant communication. So, this is very disappointing and regrettable,” the party board said.
“Here we had a young man looking for a home after being disenfranchised with his former political home. We decided to give a young person an opportunity to learn, to grow, to leave his mark on St. Maarten as a representative of the people. He repaid that chance given to him by the US Party family by abandoning us and throwing the country into chaos with those that encouraged and enabled him.”
The US Party board said DP members should be ashamed of themselves for preying on young MPs and encouraging them to do what the DP itself campaigned against last election; “jump ship.”