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Published On: Fri, Dec 18th, 2020

Emmanuel writes to PM seeking answers and details about COHO

~ Says people must understand what’s coming ~

GREAT BAY — The Prime Minister and her government must answer urgent questions and provide truthful clarity to the people of St. Maarten about the COHO entity that is about to take over their lives. So says Independent Member of Parliament Christophe Emmanuel as he submitted a letter to the PM, via the Secretariat of Parliament, on Friday.

Emmanuel said he will “not let up” and will “not stop asking questions” about the drastic change that is about to occur on St. Maarten in return for a third tranche of liquidity support. He said Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs came to Parliament and spoke in “general terms” without providing clear answers to anything. “It was clear that she herself doesn’t know but Parliament had to rubber-stamp. It is the choice and free-will of other MP’s to go along, not this MP. Not while I know the people of St. Maarten, its government apparatus, companies, civil servants and more doesn’t know what’s coming either,” the MP said.

MP Emmanuel framed his questions around the following approach will ask additional depending on her answers:

  • What exactly was negotiated by St. Maarten for St. Maarten? Other than a name-change from CRE to COHO?
  • The PM said there were amendments to the consensus law. What amendments did St. Maarten propose specifically and what was accepted and rejected by BZK?
  • The PM said clarifications were provided by BZK over some concerns by St. Maarten. What were these concerns that St. Maarten had and what clarifications were sought and given to St. Maarten? The PM said these concerns were “thoroughly addressed” so she should be able to provide thorough details.
  • Through her own words it is apparent that the PM does not know the details of the conditions. Conditions that were negotiated by Aruba and Curacao. How can you agree to conditions without knowing the details?
  • The PM said the COHO will have extremely limited authority and at times can act at its own volition. Please explain what are the parameters of “extremely limited authority?” What is the limit of this authority? Where does it start and end? How can the COHO’s authority be “extremely limited” when it will hold supervisory roles with power to restrict?
  • The COHO will Supervise government bodies and government owned companies? SXM had no questions about this? How far will this supervision go? What role will the boards and management of these companies now play? Who can override who? Is the decision of the board final or does this authority lie with the COHO?
  • In the past to get financial support we had to pass legislation the Dutch wanted us to pass. The COHO will be forwarding legislative initiatives to Parliament. What happens when Parliament says no? They turn off the faucet again? Is this not the exact form of control that the PM said will not happen? Isn’t this just the CFT of a different and more powerful name?
  • Can the COHO implement on their own restrictive measures on our budget if our Parliament does not pass legislation that the COHO thinks is needed to support the Dutch conditions? Because it is made clear that funding for the COHO’s reforms should be found in our own budget.
  • What happens to all of the projects already on the books, are in development or about to kick off. Whether they are by government owned companies or the civil service? What happens to those projects? Will the COHO and its ideas now supersede all?
  • What happens to the NA/UP National Development Vision or Governing Program now? Was it taken up in the so called negotiations? The vision of our elected representatives now carry no weight? The vision of the Dutch COHO is now our bible?
  • Did you as PM give your approval to BZK on the COHO consensus law via the Minister Plenipotentiary before meeting with Parliament On Monday, December 14th?



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