~PM plans to stay on despite motion to leave with immediate effect~
PHILIPSBURG–Despite a receiving a motion of no confidence from Parliament a week ago on September 25, to leave office with immediate effect, Caretaker Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin, plans to stay on as minister until a new government is in place.
“What I can say is that I can’t fire myself twice,” Romeo-Marlin said when asked on Wednesday whether she plans to leave office given the motion.
“On Monday, September 23, I resigned – the whole Council of Ministers resigned. We got the instructions from the Governor (Eugene Holiday) to be a caretaker until a new government is placed. So, if the governor asked, we complied. So, I don’t see it quite relevant to entertain anything else. If the governor asks me to leave, then I have absolutely no problem in leaving. As a matter of fact, my office already started clearing out my stuff. I don’t have a problem, but the governor asked us to stay on as caretaker and the responsible thing to do is to accept it and continue and finalise the things that need to be finalised. So, based on the governor’s request is why I choose to still stay here along with the rest of the Council of Ministers,” Romeo-Marlin said during the Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday.
Last Wednesday, Parliament passed a motion of no confidence against five of the six members of the Council of Ministers as well as the Minister and Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary, with an instruction for the caretaker Prime Minister and caretaker Justice Minister Cornelius de Weever “be removed from office effective immediately.”
The no confidence motion was passed against Romeo-Marlin; de Weever; Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports (ECYS) Wycliffe Smith; Finance Minister Perry Geerlings, Tourism Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications Minister Stuart Johnson; Minister Plenipotentiary Jorien Wuite and Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary Michael Somersall.
Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (VROMI) Christopher Wever was spared the motion of no confidence and will remain on as minister.
The motion stated that the former governing coalition “crumbled on its own, imploded and fell apart and the decision to dissolve parliament at this time and saddle the electorate with another election is selfish, politically motivated and a blatant abuse of our constitution.” The motion, which was tabled by National Alliance (NA) Member of Parliament (MP) Silveria Jacobs, was passed by nine MPs from the new majority coalition voting in favour. There were no votes against as United Democrats (UD) MP Sarah Wescot-Williams had informed the chair that she had to leave early and the remaining UD members who attended the meeting (Tamara Leonard and Sidhart “Cookie” Bijlani) left the meeting hall before voting. Absent were Independent MP Franklin Meyers; St. Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) MP Claude “Chacho” Peterson and UD MP Jules James.
The motion strongly condemned the decision of the majority of the Council of Ministers to invoke Article 59 of the constitution. It also instructs the caretaker Council of Ministers not to take any decisions collectively or individually to appoint or dismiss any members from any supervisory board or management board of any government owned company or entity such as, but not limited to GEBE, TelEm, the Airport Holding Company, Airport Operating Company, St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation and Harbour Group of Companies.
It also instructs the caretaker Council of Ministers to not take any decisions collectively or individually with reference to the appointment of directors, consultants and personnel in general and to not enter into any contracts with third parties neither collectively or individually.
The considerations for the motion states that the Leona Romeo-Marlin II Cabinet lost its majority support in Parliament on September 9, 2019, when UD MP Franklin Meyers publicly stated on the floor of parliament that he was no longer supporting government and that he could no longer remain part of the ruling coalition.
Two days later, on September 11, Meyers confirmed his withdrawal of support from government in writing and confirmed that he was declaring himself an Independent MP. “For more than a week, the Romeo-Marlin II cabinet continued to function in office and take decisions as if all was well. The loss of support of the cabinet which went on for two weeks without reaction or move on the part of government, created a serious sense of insecurity among the people of Stint Maarten as it left the country without a legitimate government, strongly jeopardizing the recovery of St. Maarten that was already moving at a very slow pace,” the motion read.
On Sunday, September 22, MPs of the NA, United St. Maarten (US) Party and Independent MPs Dr. Luc Mercelina and Chanel Brownbill signed a declaration informing Governor Eugene Holiday, parliament and government that there was a new majority in parliament prepared to support a new government. The motion continued that it was only following the announcement that the new majority had been formed in parliament that is prepared to support a new government for St. Maarten that the Council of Ministers “hurriedly” took a decision to invoke Article 59 of the Constitution of St. Maarten and dissolve parliament and announce snap elections.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/91413-romeo-marlin-says-i-can-t-fire-myself-twice