Published On: Mon, Nov 27th, 2017

The DP’s recipe for breaking government – Part 1

Dear Editor,

It is still sometimes hard to imagine that the people of St. Maarten has to endure more political instability, this time in the aftermath of a devastating storm. One would think that we would have found a way to put petty differences aside and focus solely on rebuilding St. Maarten and ensuring a decent quality of life for our people. While most people expected this, a very small group saw the hurricane as an opportunity. An opportunity to exploit an emergency situation for power. An opportunity to emotionally manipulate the population when the population is at its most sensitive and vulnerable. Not that they didn’t have power before, but they wanted MORE power.

Allow us first to preface this first of two letters with a quote from Edward L. Bernays: “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”

The most deceptive, conniving, dishonest, de-stabilizing and manipulative force St. Maarten has had the deal with over the past years is the Democratic Party under Sarah Wescot-Williams. Like an annoying mosquito that keeps you up at night, the DP has accepted its role as a small, but disruptive entity to the country’s peace of mind and overall stability.

In time we believe the people will see through the DP’s veil of lies and deceit. For now, the United St. Maarten party (USP) would like to point out a few things that we would like for our people to keep in mind as we move towards yet another election as a result of the manipulative ways of the Democratic Party.

In 2015 a protocol is signed agreeing to, among other things, an Integrity Chamber and Border control matters. Both items were worked on. The Integrity Chamber law was drafted with the help of Dutch Civil servants. This is where the threats started from the Dutch government. The Parliament of St. Maarten under the threat of Higher Supervision at that time being imposed on St. Maarten passed the law. The Integrity Chamber law is then voided by the Constitutional Court because parts of the law is considered unconstitutional, it violated the basic rights of the people.

Then a new date is set to have a new Integrity Chamber law approved by Parliament of St. Maarten. That date is October 31st 2017. The law was drafted, went through the advisory process but the process is delayed because of the hurricanes. Not just any hurricanes, two of the biggest to ever strike our region, with one, Irma, directly impacting St. Maarten.

Most naturally, government shifts focus in September and October on managing the best it could, the aftermath of the hurricanes, not the Integrity Chamber.  People are in need and the needs of the people are growing while government is slowly moving away from the emergency situation and working towards short, medium and long-term recovery.

Emergency Aid comes in and is still coming in, never refused and has surpassed Euro 55 million for Saba, Statia and St. Maarten. The Dutch then see an opportunity. St. Maarten is told by the Netherlands if you want any aid (not emergency aid, because we have been getting that) you must meet two conditions. Pass the Integrity Chamber Law by October 31st (forget about the fact that we just had two mega hurricanes) and we are going to take over your border control. Now you would think that parties would stand together at this point and disrupt obvious attempts to divide and conquer by the Dutch. Instead, the Dutch received able and willing local political help.

During this time, when government is trying to restore vital services to our people, ensure tourism partners and get St. Maarten back on its feet, the President of Parliament and leader of the DP and a member of the NA/DP/USP coalition, yes her own coalition, calls the Prime Minister to Parliament with the support of opposition members. It was the first step in what turned out to be weeks of distracting and manipulating moves by the leader of the DP under the guise that she wasn’t getting information.

Mind you, the Council of Ministers, in which DP has a Minister (Emil Lee) met every day, sometimes three times a day at the Governor’s office, after the storms to plan and manage St. Maarten’s recovery. The coalition of 10 members have a Whatsapp group dedicated to MPs and Ministers, but for some strange reason the DP faction is unaware of developments. How can the leader of the DP hide behind “lack of information” when her own Minister was in all of these meetings? Was she not communicating with her own Minister? But no, it was the PM’s fault.

Before long and after manipulative political moves (we will get to all of those over time) the new majority of 8 (DP/UP/Brownbill) signed a motion accepting the conditions from the Dutch as is. Don’t discuss it, don’t try to get a better arrangement, just take it without knowing exactly what you are agreeing to and what the aid actually will consist of. They have effectively turned Parliament into a rubber-stamp body.

Meanwhile the Draft Integrity Law has been handled by the Council of Advice and is being prepared to be sent to Parliament. Also meanwhile, the Minister of Justice already negotiated a mutually satisfactory agreement on border control, but the new majority of 8 ignore this and state in their motion: adopt whatever the Dutch conditions are.

Just a note: The Integrity Chamber is not to catch the Members of Parliament, Ministers, Civil servants in Integrity violations only. This Integrity Chamber affects everybody on St. Maarten that has anything to do with government or with someone who has something to do with government.  Understand us clearly, we believe that tackling integrity violations is necessary. Violating the constitutional rights of the people by not requiring the approval by the judge before questioning or arresting anyone, whether MP, Minister, Civil Servant or citizen, is what was being resisted by the government of St. Maarten. As such, adjustments of the law were necessary and those amendments are made.

Additionally, think about why we’re subjected to establishing a chamber that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the Dutch Kingdom. It is not because of anything the recent government did. In fact, nobody can argue that the Marlin cabinet of which USP held the Ministries of TEATT and Justice, was not working for the people. Budgets were balanced, CFT was giving their approvals, new initiatives were underway. The Integrity Chamber came into play as a result of the leader of the Democratic Party and that party’s shady ways of governing over the years. The William Marlin Cabinet had to deal with the implementation of a chamber brought onto St. Maarten after years and years of DP “governing”. And what happened? The same DP once again employed its usual manipulation and conniving to break government. The exact same party committed the exact same act that lead to the establishing of an integrity chamber. How ironic.

So, let’s summarize for part 1 of this this letter:

  • Deadlines set for Integrity Chamber – October 31st 2017
  • Hurricane Irma hits September 6th
  • Emergency Aid comes even before the hurricanes and is still coming
  • Red Cross and other organizations and individuals sent assistance
  • Moving out of immediate aftermath of the emergency situation and now dealing with short, medium and long-term recovery.
  • Aid available from The Netherlands, European Union committed, but with conditions by the Netherlands of the Integrity Chamber law being approved by St. Maarten as per their design and the border control taken over by the Dutch Government.
  • St. Maarten already having the draft in process for the Integrity Chamber
  • St. Maarten already has agreements to an amended regulation to tackle border control
  • Daily meetings on government level
  • Regular meetings on coalition level


To be continued…

The board of the United St. Maarten Party

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