PHILIPSBURG–Democratic Party (DP) Leader Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams on Friday said she is ready to tell Prime Minister William Marlin that if his intention is to “spite” his political opponents by calling for early elections, then he can “stay in office” as “I will not be part of your puppet show. Not over the backs of the people.”
Wescot Williams said no self-respecting political leader would subject the people to an election under the current circumstances that St. Maarten is in. “None,” she said.
She was at the time commenting on the move by Marlin to submit a national decree to dissolve parliament and call early elections in January. The Marlin II Cabinet made the move on Friday after six of the seven members of the Council of Ministers received a vote of no confidence from members of the new majority in Parliament.
“This discussion is not about the right of the government to dissolve parliament. The government has that right. This is about the misuse of the constitutional right of the government by the Prime Minister. The Constitution does not say in which circumstances the government can do so, it is up to the discretion of the government to use that measure,” Wescot-Williams told The Daily Herald in an invited comment on the move by the now caretaker government.
“All constitutional history points to this measure being applied in exceptional political cases. Higher than that right is our basic democratic tenet, namely the ministers are accountable to the Parliament. If that was not the case, why do we need a Parliament?
“Yes, Parliament should not fire a minister if he does not wear the colour shirt Parliament wants. But in this particular case, with the Prime Minister grossly failing as the head of disaster management, and then to play chess with the help from the Netherlands for egotistical reasons, I say no.”
The DP Leader said the proverbial straw is the arguments used in the resolution to dissolve parliament is “absurd.”
“And that the governor would affix his signature in the name of government’s right to do so! What about the moral and constitutional duty to defend and protect our people? Especially when they hurt? And the Prime Minister says: for the people? Who can truly under these circumstances and conditions look the people in the eye and say ‘I am doing it for you’.”
Wescot-Williams wondered who would distribute voting cards to voters and where will the voting cards be sent with so many residents being displaced by Hurricane Irma. She also asked where the budget will come from for elections and whether Parliament should not approve the budget. “Is our census office ready for election? I can go on and on. This cannot be serious.
I am ready to say to the Prime Minister, if you so want to spite your political opponents, if you think that’s what you are doing, stay in office. I will not be part of your puppet show. Not over the backs of the people,” she made clear.