PHILIPSBURG–“There is no stifling,” National Alliance (NA) leader and Prime Minister William Marlin said on Monday, when asked to comment on statements made by Democratic Party (DP) leader Sarah Wescot-Williams suggesting that she was being silenced in the coalition.
Wescot-Williams said in Parliament on Friday that if she is not allowed to have her own position on the matter of aid to St. Maarten, then she has no place in the coalition her party supported. Wescot-Williams had said in a press release on Sunday evening that statements made by Minister Christophe Emmanuel that “anyone in line with the Dutch position should not be part of the coalition,” is what led to her bombshell statements in Parliament.
When asked about the matter, Marlin said the statement was made in a coalition WhatsApp chat group and it was not directed to Wescot-Williams. Marlin said when he noticed the comments in the chat, while he did not respond in the chat, he responded to the author of the comments and indicated that this was not the way to address matters.
“When I saw it, I did not respond in the chat, I responded to the person who had written it and I told him that’s not the way to address something. If someone has a concern you respond in a coalition meeting,” Marlin said at a press conference on Monday, called to address Government’s new position on the conditions for Dutch aid.
Marlin said the coalition meets every Monday and he suggested that the leaders of the three parties meet ahead of yesterday’s coalition meeting, but Wescot-Williams said she couldn’t make it as she had a radio programme. She later suggested that the two meet at 11:00am, and Marlin said he had been in a meeting and when he saw it, he suggested that the three meet at 4:00pm. Marlin said he waited on the DP leader to attend the meeting until leaving his office for his press conference for 5:00pm.
“There is no stifling,” he said. “It was not a statement addressed to her. And I do not know of any public statements the DP leader made that said she is not in agreement with the Government. The letter she wrote asked the Dutch Government to separate the two issues and that is exactly what I was saying: aid yes, but do not use this as a condition. It’s a different wording, but the same results. There is no stifling.”
In her press release on Friday, Wescot-Williams said the attempts of coalition partners to censor, stifle or attack differences of opinions is clearly against DP party philosophy and certainly against all democratic principles. She had told Parliament on Friday that she was bothered when members of the coalition insinuate that she cannot take a position other than the coalition’s position.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/70573-marlin-says-no-one-was-stifled-in-the-coalition