Published On: Sun, Nov 24th, 2019

Playing dead

Jacobs Cabinet 1 - Council of Ministers per 19 Nov 2019

By Hilbert Haar

The interim government led by Silveria Jacobs currently consists of five ministers – one from the United St. Maarten party (USp) and the rest are all with the National Alliance (NA). Until the remaining two ministers – proposed by the USp – have been sworn in, the Council of Ministers is practically a one-party affair. Does that matter? Yes and no.

For the decision-making process in the Council of Ministers it is irrelevant whether the two remaining ministers are there or not. This is because decisions in the council are taken by a majority of votes and with four against three the National Alliance ministers will always have the upper hand.

And yet we hear that something weird is going on, something that makes the absence of the USp candidate-ministers a bit of an issue. I hear that already last Friday the formateur (current Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs) had all necessary documents, including statements of approval, in her possession for the two candidate-ministers from the USp – Pamela Gordon-Carty and Melissa Doncher. But according to our information, Jacobs has not submitted these documents to the governor yet. Because of that, the candidate-ministers cannot be sworn in.

Now why would that be? With elections only a bit more than six weeks away, the interim-ministers will have plenty opportunities to step into the limelight with decisions and initiatives to please the electorate. The USp candidate-ministers will have to look in from the outside for the time being.

Is that fair? Hey, who said the world is fair? This is politics.

I do wonder why the USp – that saw its star-MP Rolando Brison disappear to the United People’s party – is not raising hell about this situation. After all, the USp could use all the exposure it can get in the run-up to the elections. I never knew that playing dead is also a profitable political strategy.

And that is one possible explanation: by playing nice to the National Alliance, the USp could already be anticipating a role as the party that will help the NA to a workable majority in parliament in case Jacobs&Co don’t win more than seven seats in January.

In the meantime, an explanation for the delay in adding the two USp-ministers to the interim cabinet would be more than welcome.