Published On: Thu, May 6th, 2021

Minister Irion demands former Ministers to be held accountable after judgment that blames William Marlin’s government

Dear Editor,

In response to a question about holding Ministers personally liable for impacting government’s coffers, Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion (NA) stated: “I personally believe that former Ministers must be held accountable by making an example out of them, if not this trend will continue.”

Irion said that over the years, he has seen several cases where government is held responsible for the decisions of former Ministers. This is correct. Holding Ministers accountable and personally liable for depleting government’s coffers is indeed long overdue.

The timing of Irion’s remarks is remarkable: one day after the final judgment in Henderson International B.V. v Country Sint Maarten, which confirms that we the tax payers are paying two adjusters for the same work: Smith Orloff, hired by Leona Romeo-Marlin’s UD-led government, and Henderson, hired by the earlier William Marlin’s NA-led government, which included current Prime-Minister Silveria Jacobs (NA).

In a press-release, emphasis is put on Smith Orloff delivering its bid to the home of a Minister in the Romeo-Marlin government. That press release describes the bidding process that awarded Henderson the contract as ‘sound’. Clearly, the current NA-led government tries to discredit the Leona Romeo-Marlin government.

Nice try. Until we read the Henderson-judgments of March 17th, 2020, and May 4th, 2021. The Court did not put blame on the Romeo-Marlin government. Instead, Country Sint Maarten was ordered to pay ANG 225,000 to Henderson International B.V. because of mistakes by the NA-led government in 2017: no agreement with Henderson was signed by then Prime-Minister William Marlin and his Council of Ministers. That violated the Kingdom Law on Financial Supervision. No National Decision was signed by the Governor, lifting the required public bidding process. This violated the National Accountability Ordinance. So, there was no bidding process, much less a sound bidding process. Henderson did the job anyway, trusting that government would sort out its own paperwork. The NA-led government did not do that and that is why the subsequent UD-led government terminated Henderson’s project. However, the Court ruled that Henderson still needs to be paid, because Henderson did work for which he must be compensated. Even though the Court denied Henderson’s USD 570,000 claim, the Court helped Henderson out by estimating a fair compensation of ANG 225,000 for the work performed based on promises made by the William Marlin-government.

What is going on here? Was this a spin of a judgment that is devastating for William Marlin, the former leader of Irion’s party, and a poor attempt to blame Leona Romeo-Marlin’s government?

Or did Irion put another knife in the backs of his former party leader and of the current leader of the NA, current Prime-Minister Silveria Jacobs? Time will tell.

A surprised citizen

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