National Alliance leader, Deputy Prime Minister Willliam Marlin said on Sunday night that he had spoken for quite some time with Dutch Minister of Kingdom Relations, Minister Plasterk regarding the ongoing political developments on St. Maarten.
Minister Marlin said he wanted to make it very clear again to the people of St. Maarten that it is not his intention, nor that of any other Minister to frustrate the authority of the Parliament of St. Maarten. There is a new majority in Parliament on the one hand, but there is also a majority in the Council of Ministers on the other hand.
The majority in Parliament want to dismiss the Council of Ministers or pass a motion of No Confidence in 4 ministers, while the Council of Ministers has already taken a decision to dissolve the Parliament in the meeting of Tuesday May 7th . And that is where the problem lies. The Prime Minister, Mrs. Sarah Wescot-Williams is refusing the carry out a decision of the majority, while trying to buy time for the new majority in Parliament to pass a motion of no confidence against the Ministers.
Marlin said, that is the reason why he decided to write to the Governor explaining the situation and also drafting a National Decree to dissolve Parliament and hold early elections in July. The Governor didn’t sign the draft National Ordinance but referred it back to the Council of Ministers for handling. Marlin said that on Friday last he wrote the Prime Minister a letter asking her to place the matter on the agenda for handling. According to Minister Marlin the General Secretary to the Council of Ministers said that the Prime Minister told her that the agenda was already closed off.
The Deputy Prime Minister said that the public of St. Maarten needs to realize that it is the Prime Minister who is refusing to uphold the Constitution of St. Maarten. We have all taken the oath to do so.
The focus of the problem is on the Chairman of Parliament because Parliament convenes in a public session. But the Prime Minister has been getting away since the Council of Ministers meet behind closed doors and the public is not aware of decisions that have been taken.
It is wrong for the Prime Minister to abuse and misuse her power and authority just to stay in power. Marlin said what he would want to see is the decision of the majority of the Council of Ministers carried out, which is to dissolve Parliament and hold early elections.
With such a decision carried out, all of the Ministers will tender their resignation and if the new majority wants to appoint new Ministers, they have his blessings, which of course is their good right. But we cannot measure with two dipsticks, one for the Prime Minister, who is allowed to act in conflict with the constitution and the other one for the Chairman of Parliament. Even if he acts in accordance with the Constitution and the Rules of Order, it is not good enough for the new majority, that wants to take over the Government at all costs.
Minister Marlin said he pointed all this out to Minister Plasterk, and told him that the situation on St. Maarten is becoming tense and explosive. Marlin said as the most senior politician on St. Maarten, having spent 26 years uninterrupted in the Island Council and Executive Council of St. Maarten and also 9 years in the Parliament of St. Maarten, he has never felt threatened like now.
I have never sat in a meeting with that many police officers present. This is not like St. Maarten. And before matters get out of hands, he is calling on the authorities to act before it is too late. Up till now, all we have is the following: In letters three Members of Parliament have indicated that they had withdrawn their support for the present Government, while 8 Members of Parliament have further indicated that they are prepared to support a new Government.
But what we also have is that ever since the 7th May, 5 Ministers have taken a decision in the Council of Ministers to dissolve Parliament and hold early elections.
The situation as is cannot continue, Marlin said. We cannot simply ignore some of the issues surrounding key players in the formation of a new government. We have the manager of Bada Bing publicly stating that it is the leader of the UP Party who instructed him to make a tape in order to blackmail a Member of Parliament (which is punishable by law). We also have the Independent Member of Parliament who has publicly stated that he was offered a bribe by the leader of the UP Party of first 250.000 Dollars and then $350.000. and some three weeks after he was questioned by the Prosecutor about this, he has suddenly made a right about turn and is now all sweet again with the leader of the UP Party. They have now struck a deal: The Independent Member of Parliament will resign from Parliament so that the UP leader will get back a seat in Parliament and the Independent Member will become a Minister.
The public is not happy with these developments either and throughout the communities people are asking for early elections, instead of patching things up in order to have the third Wescott-Williams cabinet in three years!
Marlin said that he has again spoken to the Governor Drs. Eugene Holiday and to Dutch Minister of Kingdom Relations, Minister Plasterk.
In his opinion, the best solution is to dissolve Parliament and hold early elections and dismiss the present Council of Ministers and replace them with a caretaker cabinet until a new Government takes over after the early elections in July.
Marlin said the people need to be given an opportunity to speak out in new elections, the people need to give a new mandate as to who they want to run this new country of ours.
In view of the discussions, particularly with Minister Plasterk, Marlin said that he has asked the Chairman of Parliament, Drs. Rodolphe Samuel, not to resign on Monday as he had indicated during a radio interview with Lloyd Richardson on PJD-2 on Sunday morning.
Marlin also confirmed that all the National Alliance Ministers and Minister Pantophlet have signed letters of resignation and will hand them in to Governor Eugene Holiday as soon as a decision is taken to dissolve Parliament and hold early elections.