NA will not ‘cover up’ for DP and pretend all is well

Opposition party National Alliance (NA) has showed in no uncertain terms that it will continue its stance that the Democratic Party (DP) must prove it has a firm and secure majority in government. NA island councilmen refused to sign in Wednesday for an extraordinary meeting with a delegation from the Dutch Parliament First Chamber.

The opposition’s refusal to sign in led to the cancellation of the Island Council meeting and to the NA holding an impromptu meeting with the visiting delegation at the Parliament building during which NA leader William Marlin pointed out that the island remained in a crisis situation because there was no strong indication that the DP had the majority it claimed.  

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The two sides may meet again if the schedule of the visiting delegation permits.

Marlin told the press that if government called a meeting it should have a majority to form the needed quorum of six members. He said NA would have signed in for Wednesday’s meeting and the earlier Central Committee meeting had independent Island Councilman Louie Laveist been present and registered for the meeting.

NA said it had been willing to provide the other needed signature to form a quorum because it was aware that Commissioner Roy Marlin was off-island on business. Laveist was absent from both meetings without notice.

"We simply wanted to press home the point that it is still not clear whether there is a legitimate government in place," William Marlin said.

The NA also wanted to make the point that "there is a problem in the governance of St. Maarten."

Laveist has been at the centre of a political tug-of-war between the NA and DP. He resigned and withdrew support from DP in November and gave "100 per cent" support to NA, only to retract this just over a week later in favour of DP staying in government. However, the unfair treatment Laveist complained about receiving from DP that had led to his actions still persists, said Marlin, supported by NA Island Councilmen Patrick Illidge and Rodolphe Samuel.

Evidence of this, he added, was Laveist’s absence from the meetings. He pointed out that it had been Laveist’s modus operandi to be absent from meetings as a form of protest since his days as a full-fledged DP member.

The NA’s decision not to sign in Wednesday was simply to highlight the fact that government has no support, Marlin said.

Had NA members signed in and had the meeting gone ahead as planned, the record would have showed simply that the visiting delegation had met with the Island Council and discussed matters of importance, Marlin said. "It would have all looked like all was well in St. Maarten. We will not cover up for the DP."

NA has not jeopardised the island’s quest for country status by not attending the meeting, but simply has pointed out to the Dutch Kingdom that all is not well here, Marlin said.

Laveist will stand trial on suspicion of forgery on February 11. He was detained in October and his home and office were searched by detectives. Following party policy, DP leader Commissioner Sarah Wescot-Williams redistributed his portfolios that included Labour and Culture.