Published On: Wed, Mar 22nd, 2023

You scratch my back ….

By Hilbert Haar

Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs has “a great deal of sympathy” for MP Rolando Brison and his family, she wrote in a press statement issued on March 19. The statement is a reaction to Brison’s arrest as a suspect in a bribery-investigation. Not a word about bribery being one of the ills that is gnawing at the very foundation of our country.

But Jacobs went a few steps further than expressing sympathy for a suspected criminal. She saw fit to write that it is “uncanny” that the investigation surfaces “at times when they can negatively alter local political stability.” Even worse: “It begs the question if it is indeed geopolitically or locally instigated.”

For those who have trouble understanding politically motivated blah-blah: the prime minister is saying that the investigation is politically motivated with the objective of causing trouble to her government. To put is even clearer: Jacobs questions the impartiality of the prosecutor’s office. Of course, the press statement does not express this is so many words, but that’s what it comes down to.

Let’s be clear: MP Brison is a suspect. What is the prosecutor’s office supposed to do? Oh, the parliament is handling the budget. Let’s drop this investigation? Against an MP with a not too stellar reputation who is now suspected of having accepted bribes and of having abused his position? That not how this works; nor should it work that way.

And besides, our constitutional state is based on the separation of powers: the legislative, the executive and the judicial branch. They each have their own responsibilities and they should not interfere in an inappropriate manner with each other.

So why has PM Jacobs done just that? Let me guess. Brison is part of the political landscape that supports the Jacobs-government. What would Brison do if Jacobs had sent out another press release? One that said, for instance: I do not approve of bribery or of abuse of power and anybody who does such a thing has no place in our parliament?

Impossible to predict how Brison would react to such a clear statement, but apparently Jacobs was not going to take any chances. Not with her 2023 budget on the line.

So here we witness again how politics is making strange bedfellows. I encourage readers not to take this statement literally. But still, it is once more a matter of ‘you scratch my back and I scratch yours’.

Those who do not get a sick feeling from Jacobs’ statement are probably part of the problem. Wait, forget probably. They are part of the problem. The politicians with good intentions who truly want to make St. Maarten a better place have an uphill job ahead of them.


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