The National Alliance said on Wednesday afternoon that Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs is clearly not in control of his cabinet, at the least, not as far as how to deal with Parliament.
During his first visit to Parliament the honorable Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs said that one thing he had learnt during his term as a State Secretary in the Government of the Netherlands Antilles was, that when a Minister or State Secretary is called to Parliament, you drop everything and appear before Parliament.
He said that because of this experience he had made sure to be in Parliament, even though he had just been sworn in a few days before.
Either the Prime Minister has not been able to convince certain Ministers or he had not yet discussed this with them.
The faction of the National Alliance said that a Central Committee meeting had been convened with Minister of Finance Martin Hassink on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarterly reports. This meeting had been convened for January 12th and on the day before the meeting Parliament had been informed that the meeting had been postponed until further notice.
Much to the surprise of Members of Parliament, Minister Hassink sent a letter to the Chairman of Parliament, Dr. Lloyd Richardson advising him that he was unable to attend the meeting as he was busy finalizing the 2015 budget.
It is the same Minister Martin Hassink who several weeks ago didn’t show up for several meetings citing that he was sick.
The National Alliance faction said that this practice has to stop and Ministers ought to show more respect to Members of Parliament, the duly elected representatives of the people.
If it is that Minister Hassink has to be the one to personally sit behind a desk to make the necessary adaptations to the 2015 budget then something is seriously wrong.
The faction of the National Alliance said that they will be calling on the Chairman of Parliament to impress upon the Prime Minister and his cabinet, that more respect for Parliament is expected from Ministers.
It is not too long ago, that an urgent meeting had been requested to question both Minister de Weever and Minister Hassink on issues surrounding the Medical Center and payments from the SZV that the Medical Center had not received. Then also, the meeting was simply not convened by the Chairman of Parliament using as reason an email received from the then Minister Cornelius de Weever.
In the email to the Secretary General of Parliament on Friday December 12th, Minister de Weever wrote the following: “Please inform all MPs that Minister Hassink is sick. Government has paid SZV 2.5 million which half was paid on Monday and the other half today, Friday.
Secondly, SZV also paid SMMC an additional 3 million.
I hope this information will suffice until we can actually another meeting since we are heading into a long weekend and I may be island hopping.”
The faction of the National Alliance wants to make it abundantly clear that the responsibility for convening meetings requested by Members of Parliament rest with the Chairman of Parliament. Of course Ministers must be consulted as to when it would better fit in their agenda. But it can never be so, that meetings are simply not held or convened because the Minister doesn’t want to answer to Parliament.
We really hope that this kind of attitude towards the representatives of the people will be a thing of the past, the National Alliance faction in Parliament concluded.