Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin presenting answers to questions from Members of Parliament about the reconstruction agreement with the Netherlands, the World Bank and the European Investment Bank for the airport. Minister of Tourism Stuart Johnson was also present during Monday’s meeting.
PHILIPSBURG–Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin is at risk of being out of a job soon if a motion of no confidence is carried by seven Members of Parliament (MPs) who had the majority of the 11 members present during the second-round public parliament meeting on Monday dealing with the recent Council of Ministers decision to go with the Dutch government and European Investment Bank (EIB) financing proposal for the reconstruction of St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA).
Former Prime Minister and now-MP William Marlin presented a draft motion on the floor of parliament against Romeo-Marlin who was present to answer questions asked by the MPs in the first round on January 21. MPs Theo Heyliger, Franklin Meyers and Chanel Brownbill were not present for the meeting. Meyers did notify the chairperson of parliament that he would be unable to attend Monday’s meeting.
Marlin read the motion on behalf of MPs Irion, Doran, Emmanuel, Jacobs, Richardson and Brison. Marlin said the present coalition government led by Romeo-Marlin is based on a coalition agreement with the premise of transparency, social dialogue, openness, integrity, and communication, with a concentrated focus on rebuilding a vibrant economy, restoring a strong social fabric and promoting a resilient sense of community.
“This Government led by Prime Minister Leona Marlin has failed to live up to the abovementioned premise – the failure of the Prime Minister Leona Marlin to act timely upon the request by the airport for a letter of guarantee to secure the necessary financing to rebuild the airport and its facilities. That this failure to act has pressured the airport and the government to entertain discussions and conditions for financing which under normal circumstances would not have been entertained.
“That Prime Minister Leona Marlin lacks in transparency, openness and integrity, which is evident from the fact that the Prime Minister provides information to parliament primarily when called to parliament during meetings requested by opposition parties. That Prime Minister Leona Marlin’s ability to lead her cabinet in focusing on rebuilding a vibrant economy is in question when the airport is not given the timely attention when such is requested.
“That Prime Minister Leona Marlin has shown no evidence of results of restoring a strong social fabric and promoting a resilient sense of community; That Prime Minister Leona Marlin’s approach to Kingdom Relations does not echo the sentiments and positions taken by her own coalition and could further threaten the autonomous position of St. Maarten in the Dutch Kingdom.
“That more than a year after the destruction by Hurricane Irma ‘not a roof has been repaired’ with the Dutch Recovery Funds; so stated by the Dutch General Audit Chamber. Shared concerns by coalition partner Wescot-Williams as reflected in the headline in today’s press release issued by the President of Parliament Wescot-Williams: ‘Time to Objectively Evaluate World Bank Program and Bottlenecks,’” read MP William Marlin on Monday.
The motion also mentions that Romeo-Marlin has failed to lead her cabinet and by extension St. Maarten to execute the very same objectives that form the premise of this coalition government. The motion resolves that the current prime minister does not enjoy the confidence of the Parliament of St. Maarten, and seeks her immediate discharge as Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs.
A similar motion was presented by MP Christophe Emmanuel and his fellow opposition members against Minister of Tourism Stuart Johnson.
The meeting was adjourned until this coming Thursday at 3:00pm when MPs will vote on both motions.