Island Council Lady Mrs.Sarah Wescot’s Statements during the DP’s Weekly Press Conference


The Democratic Party of St.Maarten, held their weekly press conference on Monday October 26th 2009. The following is Island Council Lady Mrs.Sarah Wecot-Williams’ presentation during that press conference.


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October 26, 2009

1. Recruitment Secretaries General

As I have explained on numerous occasions, the government organization for country Sint Maarten will be vastly different from what we have today. Not only on a political level with the formation of a parliament for country Sint Maarten and a council of Ministers, but also the government apparatus will change its structure. Not too long ago, we formalized the complete current organizational process, including placement of personnel in the organization. The next phase in this process was the creation of the government organization for country Sint Maarten.

This new organization will move us from the sectoral organization we have today to a ministerial one.

The position of sector director which we know now will cease to exist.

The new organization will consists of ministries, headed by the respective ministers, who will have a cabinet and a "staff bureau"; the ministry will be overseen by a secretary general (SG).

It is at this position where I wish to stand still for a moment. I have the impression that the government by announcing the vacancies for 7 SG’s, has created a lot of uncertainty, because the total picture has not been provided for the civil service or the general public.

The total picture as to the transition from one organization to the other. Will it happen all by 1-1-10, when the "decentralization law" will go into effect?

What will happen to those persons whose functions will cease to exist? E.g. the sector directors? Of course one could argue that they can apply for the position of SG, but that is no guarantee.

The government needs to sit with its management and outline this particular process, so that the management can pass this on to their respective organization and eliminate a lot of uncertainty.

There is another process that our faction is following carefully and that is that of the New Health Insurance System (NHIS). Of course, this is a plan initiated by the DP government (no 2 ways about that). However, critical for us now is to establish whether the due diligence in all its facets is being observed by the NA/Heyliger/Laveist coalition.

Due diligence in terms of real stakeholders’ participation, which stakeholders by the way include the island council of Sint Maarten.

If this government believes that they are going to ram such an important piece of legislation down the proverbial throat of the island council, then they are in for a rude awakening. We too want to hear the opinion of the other stakeholders and if not in person, we want all the reports that will lead to and the advices that have lead to government’s decisions in this matter.

We also continue to investigate what is the true picture behind the recent developments regarding Cape Bay.

Clearly there is presently activity going on with respect to some plan or plans for that area.

That these plans go back many years is not the issue here. The questions that government has to answer are the following:

Have these plans being picked up again ? if so, which plan in particular?

Has the government commissioned an environmental impact or any other study of the area?

If not the government, who has commissioned this study?

With what objective has such a study been commissioned? To have on the shelf in the event money becomes available to execute the plan?

Or to seek money to execute the plan?

The government, not to inform the people, but because of an internal spat has reacted to criticism of the government regarding Cape Bay.

The DP faction and the people of Sint Maarten want to hear from government not only when the government is criticized, but especially when issues like these surface and nobody but the government have all the facts.

Much has been said by government in the person of Comm. Heyliger, but yet nothing has been said. An art that this government seems to very good at and gets away with.

On another note, we have taken note of the decision by the central government to propose several changes to the islands regulation, which include increasing the amount of commissioners for the island territory; the amount of island council members and shortening the life of this island council’s term. While this is not a new matter for us of the DP faction, in fact after some very brief discussions with the Minister concerned, a letter to this effect was sent to the Executive Council back in April.

Again, critical for us would be the context within which this proposal is now being made, the elucidation to these changes, the connection with the transfer of authority and since we have not received copies of the draft law or the reaction of the NA/Heyliger executive council, we reserve our comments until a later date. This should not be what in Dutch is termed "gelegenheidswetgeving" freely translated convenience legislation, meaning to rectify a current deficiency (which this government clearly has) by coming with a law.

This draft to get our approval would really need to have as its goal the transition to country Sint Maarten.


1. Trip to the Netherlands

Still no clarity on this trip and while on the topic, I wish to remind the media that in the context of constitutional change when Mr. William Marlin was part of my delegations to the Netherlands, sessions with the students in the Netherlands were arranged where both Mr. Marlin and myself addressed the students. And for the record, I need not be part of any delegation if the sole purpose is to portray unity, (which is not demonstrated at home), and I have no other meaningful role to play.

2. CC meetings with government-owned companies.

Right after the press briefing of Monday, I took note of the schedule for these meetings, presented by the Chairman, Mr. George Pantophlet by letter of October 23rd, , which is as follows:

PJIA Holding and subsidiaries: November 9th at 9.30 am

St. Maarten Harbor Holding and subsidiaries: November 9th at 11.00 am tentatively.

GEBE shareholding Foundation and GEBE NV: November 12th at 2.00 pm.