PHILIPSBURG–Democratic Party leader Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams minced no words on Friday morning when she reacted to United St. Maarten Party leader MP Frans Richardson’s comments that the fall of the William Marlin Cabinet was based on “using flimsy, childlike excuses.”
Wescot-Williams said the Cabinet fall was “justified by the horrific financial and economic outlook” for the country following Hurricane Irma on September 6.
“The financial reality we see today and the Marlin government’s lack of urgency and willingness to deal with the Dutch government is now haunting us big time. Caretaker status or not, resignation or not, government must accept this responsibility and failure,” she said in a press statement.
“It is exactly the prospect of this financial nightmare that precipitated the fall of the Marlin Cabinet, as it was clear that Marlin was on a collision course with the Dutch government over the funds to be made available to St. Maarten.”
Wescot-Williams continued: “The Marlin Government should be held accountable for bringing the country to the brink of a financial abyss. Ministers, members of Parliament, politicians and all those who supported this course of action, should admit their failure and move on.”
The Marlin Government ministers, who have a caretaker status, now admit that the conditions imposed by the Dutch were necessary to secure only viable financial lifeline, yet they delayed this for months and now present Parliament with a fait accompli, Wescot-Williams said.
“Not one of them has or ever had a plan B, yet they ridiculed anyone who stood up against their ‘crusade’ which was aimed against Dutch aid. Today the same fist the opponents of Dutch aid raised in protest, has opened up to accept this very aid.”
That the financial state of the country “is worrisome is a no-brainer. But, we all should be alarmed,” she said, adding that the dismal picture is clearer with the amendments to the 2017 budget presented this week by Finance Minister Richard Gibson Sr.
The amendments have been in the make for some time, but the format had to be changed from one that amended a proposed pre-hurricane Irma amendment, to one that amended the approved budget 2017, Wescot-Williams said.
“At least, this is what government says. However, Government’s tardiness with the 2017 budget amendment has more to do with government’s reluctance to concede that while they engaged in a shouting match of ‘over my dead body,’ the country financially was bleeding to death. What a sick game to play,” she said.
“Now again we are put between a rock and a hard place. Do we sanction the illegal actions of the government by passing the amended budget and hopefully (still) open up the liquidity support 2017 or do we hold the government and individual ministers accountable for their actions? Or do we do both,” she questioned ahead of today’s Parliament sitting to approve the amendments.
“To add insult to injury, there is an apparent breakdown in communication with the CFT [Committee for Financial Supervision], which is ill-advised and counterproductive. The caretaker ministers must admit they had to reverse their stance, but the time they took to do so, cost our country dearly,” Wescot-Williams said.