Published On: Fri, May 15th, 2020

DSTA counteracts public attack of MP Brison and “comedian” Andrew Dick; awaits apologies

PHILIPSBURG — The executive board of the Dutch St. Maarten Taxi Association (DSTA) has issued a press statement counteracting the public allegations made by President of Parliament, MP Rolando Brison, and “comedian” Andrew Dick in his Late Night show, in regards to the association’s activities on behalf of its members relaying important information and questions to government regarding the stimulus package.

The press statement reads as follows:

The whole world is dealing with a global pandemic, and St. Maarten is no different.

Unfortunately, at this time, the President of Parliament, MP Rolando Brison, chose to lay a vicious public attack on the Dutch St. Maarten Taxi Association (hereafter mentioned as DSTA) in Parliament on April 28th, 2020, and also in calls to the President of the DSTA. Equally offensive was Media Personality Andrew Dick on his Late Night Show dated May 7th, 2020.

Collectively the taxi associations have tried on numerous occasions to relay important information and questions to government regarding the stimulus package. To this day, no government official has addressed these concerns personally to any taxi association.

According to MP Brison, the DSTA was demanding stimulus money from the government. This statement is absolutely false. It is disrespectful that he stated the board would do such, especially with no proof of his claims.

The associations separately asked the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and their respective department SGs the following questions:

  1. Can pension aged drivers qualify for the stimulus?
  2. Can both the assistant driver and permit holder apply for stimulus support?
  3. Can the associations handle the processing of forms for their members, as many are not tech-savvy?
  4. If one does not have a stamped 2018 tax form, what can be used in its place?

Not once was receiving money mentioned in any of the letters or emails sent to the government.

Although no answers were given, the associations still moved forward with assisting their members; however they could.

The executive board of the DSTA on April 25th, 2020, while helping members fill out forms discovered that persons (taxi drivers, bus drivers, vendors, and T-operators) who have SZV could not apply via the government form on the ssrp.sx website. The President of the DSTA, Conrad F. Richardson, then contacted its business partners at SZV to figure out why those with SZV could not qualify for stimulus. SZV has been the only entity to address and respond to the concerns and questions of taxi drivers about the stimulus package thus far.

Upon hearing that the DSTA would be handling money for SOME of its members (regular and extra, extra, extra ordinary with SZV insurance), MP Rolando Brison had a negative reaction that led to his irresponsible and slanderous statement saying “an association should have no business interfering with the taxi license holder’s ability to get stimulus support. We have no guarantee that once SZV puts that money on any of these taxi associations’ accounts that it will go in full to the taxis.” was the words he stated.

These types of statements can have very serious consequences for the DSTA. We have local and international business partners, and the false statements could potentially have long term effects for the association. For example, what if the FCCA got word of the President of Parliament speaking so negatively? Would he be willing to share his salary of more than $10,000 with the members of DSTA?

Whenever listening to the complaints of one or two taxi drivers, make sure that they are a member of the association they are complaining about. If they are a member, please make sure that their complaints reflect what the majority of the membership’s complaints are. Otherwise, you will go out in public and make yourself sound foolish.

If there is an ulterior motive by MP Brison, whatever it may be, he should leave the DSTA out of it. We are not a political entity and should not be used as a springboard for political mileage.

The DSTA was founded in 1985 and has seen its fair share of ups and downs like any other establishment on the island. DSTA is governed by democracy. The members of the DSTA were not afraid to stand up against any wrongdoings by any board of the past and are certainly not afraid to do so at present.

Media Personality Dick, in his opening statement, said that “the race is on to see who can steal taxi drivers’ money.” Not one word uttered by Mr. Dick on that night about the DSTA was truthful. Those words were definitely harmful to the “orange shirts.” This public ridicule has enraged the members of the DSTA who are fed up with having their association constantly publically painted in a negative light.

We would think that both men would be more careful in publically labeling any individual(s) of possible financial wrongdoings as themselves have been embroiled in embezzlement claims in the past.

The statements of both men were reckless and irresponsible. This type of rogue behavior will not be accepted from these men or any other individual, including the handful of members who seem hellbent on destroying the DSTA.

The DSTA is awaiting public apologizes from MP Rolando Brison and “comedian” Andrew Dick. And also a public retraction of all the false statements made publically and in person.

As to the DSTA board meeting with Mr. Brison, please understand respect is earned when it is given. Respect that you are a legislator. The board has no issue meeting with members of the executive branch such as the Minister of Finance or the Minister of T.E.A.T.T regarding the stimulus package.

End of the DSTA press statement.

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Related video links:

Recording Excerpt statement MP Rolando Brison

Recording Excerpt Late Night With Andrew Dick – DSTA