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Published On: Mon, Nov 1st, 2021

Pressure mounts for Brison to resign. What will Parliament do?

Over the weekend, following the spreading of a recording of MP Rolando Brison making derogatory remarks regarding fellow UP party member and faction leader Grisha Heyliger-Marten, via social media, several parties in Parliament called for the immediate resignation of Brison as Chairman.
The first party to immediately do so was the United St. Maarten Party (USP), followed by the United Democrats (UD) party and Independent Member of Parliament, MP Christophe Emmanuel. Remarkably, the Party for Progress (PFP) has not issued a statement regarding the ‘faux pas’ MP Brison as President of Parliament has committed. Word on the street is that PFP plans to call a meeting of the faction leaders in Parliament at 3pm in the afternoon to discuss the matter.
On Sunday evening MP Rolando Brison issued a statement as President of Parliament, basically apologizing for his poor choice of words uttered in the presence of “unscrupulous individuals,” at his home who has “edited them to fit their political narrative and agenda,” he stated.
Faction leader, MP Grisha Heyliger-Marten, has since also issued a statement roundly condemning the taped remarks by Brison. According to sources close to the UP party, an emergency board meeting was held on Sunday wherein Brison was asked to resign. However, he refused to do so. Brison wrote in his statement to the media that he intends to work to restore trust with his colleague Heyliger-Marten and to get her to accept his apology for his indiscretion.
MP Brison has all rights to indeed work out his issues and differences with his fellow party member and we wish him good luck with that. However, what Brison fails to admit or realize is the fact that his words – spliced or not – has tainted the position and office of the President of Parliament.
As an observer on social media rightfully points out and we quote: “Dude still doesn’t get it. He seems to think his biggest transgression was insulting the first lady of UPP, but his comments about his deals and obvious impartiality to the minister of VROMI only brings into question his decisions as chair.”
In that context as well, Independent MP Christophe Emmanuel pointed out in his press release to the deal-making Brison referred to with certain members of the National Alliance and the implication that permits are for sale on St. Maarten. MP Emmanuel goes on to state, “Chairman Brison painted a picture of an inner-circle cartel running the government. The Prime Minister must be held accountable as well and address the nation. These are not rumors as the Prime Minister likes to dismiss so nonchalantly. These comments are from a person who seems to wield more power than the Prime Minister over Ministers from her own party.”
The Prime Minister will be a guest on the Lady Grace radio show at 8:30am in the morning. We are very much interested in hearing what Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs has to say about this latest development in the political arena on St. Maarten. Will she show leadership and also ask for the resignation of Brison as president of parliament? Or will she declare it an internal matter for the UP party and its board to resolve?
In any event, parties are free to demand the immediate resignation of Brison as President of Parliament or even as member of Parliament, but we all know that won’t happen and his statement of apology clearly shows Brison has no intention of resigning from any position, including as a member of the UP party.
Therefore, it is up to the political parties in Parliament to bring a vote to the floor and let the chips fall where they may. As another astute political observer commented on social media: “At any time a majority of Parliament can elect a new president and no reason is needed. If each of you is of the belief that he has to go then get on the same page for the sake of the country. Yea he can try to stall but eventually a meeting has to be called. If the 14 of you can not lend support to each other to get it done then your words amount to nothing and you all should go home.”
This observer further goes on to state that according to Article 57, section 1, of the Constitution of Sint Maarten, “the Parliament shall elect a President and a Deputy President from its own numbers.”
Thus, the rules of the game are clear, Parliament has the power to appoint and dismiss the chairperson of Parliament. Nevertheless, we are of the opinion that it should not come to this point. MP Rolando Brison should do the honourable thing and immediately vacate the office of the President of Parliament. In any other democratic country, any self-respected representative of the people bearing the title of ‘honourable’, would immediately tender his resignation. Clearly, Brison wants to show everyone on St. Maarten instead that he is an honourebel. We will see what Parliament will do in the next public meeting.
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