In reaction to the letter of the leader of the NA on Friday last the following. While it may be true that under normal circumstances a government that is not supported by a majority in the Island Council should refrain from making decisions which can inadvertently effect the future running of government, every point and example brought forward by the leader of the NA in his letter to the governor are considered frivoulous arguments why government should not continue to run the daily affairs of Sint Maarten. If we follow the trend of the NA leader then all decisions big and small that affect the daily lives of the people should come to a halt.
This route will hamper the people and not the NA.
The Island Regulation allows for a government not supported by a majority in the Island Council to continue to run the day to day affairs of government until such time that a new Executive Council is appointed. The Island Regulation also states that once a commissioner tenders his or her resignation then they remain functioning until a successor has been appointed. This means all request from individuals such as dealing with a taxi or bus license, a request for a parcel of land, social aid, business licenses and such continue as normal.
The Executive Council has untill the Island Council appoints a new Executive Council in accordance with the Island Regulation, all right to continue running the day to day affairs of government.
For example for the granting of bus and taxi licenses, the Executive Council has been working with a maximum cap for busses and taxis. This has been a policy set by the Executive Council for the past years. In the event any space becomes available in accordance with the policy and the public transportation ordinance the Executive Council has its full right to issue licenses within the policy cap set. Is the leader of the NA going through one of his cases of deja vu, when during his last term in government and just before the change of government, they issued bus and taxi licenses galore without any regard for policy. One can acquire a bus or taxi permit under the following condition. One has submitted an application, there is space available in accordance with the cap set by the EXecutive Council and or if someone holds a bus or taxi permit and the person in question passes on, the direct family dependents can apply to acquire the license due to the fact that the income from the operations of the license formed a basis for the household income of the direct decendants of the deceased.
The leader of the NA refers to the sale of the lots of land in Belvedere. I ask myself the question how this land could have been available for the DP government to sell, when the same NA leader during his last term in government and just before the elections (1999) organized a road show at Great Bay Beach Hotel and boasted the next day that all lots were sold with financing for the homes provided by the Dutch insurance firm OHRA. Was this then a poltical hoax by the leader of the NA.
The Executive Council after much attempt to provide a package for the lots in Belvedere including financing for homes decided in early 2007 that the lots in Belvedere will be sold. outright. In the mean time many young Sint Maarteners made use of this one time opportunity and have managed to acquire a parcel of land in the Belvedere area. In fact many homes are now under construction and many are even completed. The local financing institutions have cooperated tremendously with these young persons in providing 100% financing to acquire the lands. Wasnt this the wish of the leader of the NA when he started with the Belvedere project during his term in office? To see young persons having the opportunity to own their own home. Or does it still sit like sour grapes with the NA leader that it is under a DP led government that these persons acquired lands and not under a NA government. Everytime the NA leader criticizes the sale of the lots in Belvedere he is also directly being critical of all persons who acquired lots of land. In fact the sale of the lots in 2007 took place under a government supported by a majority in the Island Council.
The leader of the NA also refers to decisions that may have long term financial implications for St. Maarten. If the NA leader would peruse the Kingdom Decree regulating financial supervision he should be aware that all decisions made by government with financial implications are subject to this new rule. In essence the approved budget 2009 forms the basis for government to enter into financial arrangements. An Executive Council once handling within the approved budget is allowed to enter into arrangements in regard to current matters, capital investments, hiring of personell to fill vacancies based on the organizational structure and other such activities.
Commissioner Roy R. Marlin.
May 17, 2009