~ Says Dutch conspiracy behind his shove from office ~
POND ISLAND–Prime Minister William Marlin said Friday afternoon that he would submit a national decree to Governor Eugene Holiday for his own immediate dismissal from the Cabinet. Justice Minister Rafael “Raffi” Boasman is expected to take up the post of caretaker prime minister. He is current the deputy.
It could not be ascertained up to press time whether Marlin had lodged the decree with the Governor.
Marlin said in his press conference that he sees the instruction as another indication there was a conspiracy to bring down the Government. He recalled telling his Council of Ministers following Hurricane Irma in September, “Guys, brace yourselves; there is a conspiracy to bring down the Government [of St. Maarten] and it goes all the way to the top in The Hague.”
He based this on another symptom: the “hostile” line of questioning from a group of journalists from the Netherlands after the hurricane. The questions, he said, centred on corruption and the Dutch Government being afraid to send money for St. Maarten’s reconstruction due to fear of misuse.
Marlin said he was “demonised” and blamed for everything that had occurred since Hurricane Irma. “They are going to blame me tomorrow if the sun doesn’t shine as well,” he said.
Marlin’s resignation announcement came after the Kingdom Council of Ministers issued an instruction to the Governor earlier on Friday to start proceedings to dismiss Marlin immediately. Marlin said he would hand in the resignation following the press conference.
The Kingdom Council’s decision followed a motion from the St. Maarten Parliament calling for Marlin’s immediate dismissal. That call was made on November 10 and came some eight days after Marlin and his cabinet made their positions available to the Government based on the loss of majority support in Parliament and a vote of no confidence.
Faced with the dismissal motion two weeks ago, Marlin said he had told the Governor he saw “no legal reason to resign again, because the Constitution doesn’t speak about when you get another motion.”
Describing the Dutch Government and the new coalition in Parliament comprising the United People’s (UP) party, Democratic Party (DP) and Member of Parliament Chanel Brownbill, Marlin said some members of the new coalition and the Dutch “have not been friends over the years.” However, there is now a wind of change.
“Two kind of opposing teams, I won’t use the harsh word ‘enemies,’ found allies in each other and they both had one common enemy [himself],” Marlin said. “The DP and the UP ganged up together to get rid of the Government; an appropriate opportunity came with the hurricane and the Dutch wanted not to get rid of William Marlin, either bring him down to his knees or since that seemingly was not going to happen get him out of Government at all cost so that they can impose their will.”
He added, “There was a political conspiracy in St. Maarten to bring down the Government and that had started long before the hurricane and they used the fight, the propaganda out of The Hague, they have used it, tapped into it and two allies found each other … in a happy marriage. They had a common enemy and that enemy was William Marlin.”
Whatever the “final agenda” of the Dutch Government is, “we will see it as it surfaces soon. But it is clear that the Dutch want to control St. Maarten,” he said.
“De facto now, you have financial supervision through the CFT. You have the border, Customs and immigration – they have their finger down in that as well. And now, with the Integrity Chamber they are going to control every decision that the Government takes. They are going to control every move that the airport, the harbour, TelEm, GEBE … all of them fall within the reach and scope of the Integrity Chamber.”
Marlin’s Government crumpled after his vehement refusal to agree to conditions laid down by the Dutch Government as a prerequisite for reconstruction aid following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irma. The Dutch called on the St. Maarten Government to agree to more border controls via the Dutch Customs and the Royal Dutch Marechaussee, and for the establishment of an Integrity Chamber.
The now-caretaker Government initially took the stance that aid should not come with these conditions. This view was later revised and the border control portion has been agreed to and signed off to; the Integrity Chamber is pending. The draft law to establish that is expected to reach Parliament next week.
Meanwhile, although Marlin said he has cleared his desk and will resign as Prime Minister, it is not his swansong. He intends to run in the February 26 snap parliamentary elections. “I put my political faith in the hands of the people of St. Maarten,” he told the press.
National Alliance (NA) deputy leader caretaker Minister Silveria Jacobs, not Marlin, will head the list come February 2018 if the new Government, tipped to be headed by Member of Parliament Franklin Meyers (UP) does not push back the election date. The decision for Jacobs to head the NA slate was made in the 2014 party congress, Marlin said.