Published On: Tue, Feb 5th, 2019

Motion seeks Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin’s departure

Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin in Parliament

PHILIPSBURG – Opposition parties National Alliance (NA) and United St. Maarten party (USp) launched a frontal attack on the position of Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin on Monday afternoon during the continuation of a parliament-meeting about the financing of reconstruction efforts at the Princess Juliana International Airport.

After NA-MP William Marlin read the motion, parliament’s president MP Sarah Wescot-Williams adjourned the meeting until Thursday afternoon – a move perceived by some as a delaying tactic. Formally, the adjournment is designed to give ministers the opportunity to formulate answers to questions posed by members of parliament. The motion was signed by all seven members of the opposition and will come to a vote on Thursday.

The motion states that the prime minister failed to live up to the promise of delivering a government that stands for “transparency, social dialogue, openness, integrity and communication with a concentrated focus on rebuilding a vibrant economy.”

The motion presents seven other complaints against Romeo-Marlin. Among them is the “failure to act timely up the airport’s request for a letter of guarantee to secure financing.”

According to the motion the lack of this letter of guarantee has pressured the airport and the government to enter into a financing agreement (with the World Bank and the European Investment Bank) under conditions it would not have entertained under normal circumstances.

Furthermore, the motion states that the prime minister “lacks transparency, openness and integrity” because she only provides information when she is called to parliament.

“The prime minister has shown no evidence of results of restoring a strong social fabric and promoting a relevant sense of community,” is another complaint.

The opposition also holds it against Romeo-Marlin that her approach to Kingdom Relations “does not echo sentiments and positions taken by her own coalition.” This could, the motion states, “further threaten the autonomous position of St. Maarten in the Kingdom.”

The motion quotes from a report by the Dutch General Audit Chamber that “one year after Irma not one roof has been repaired with the Dutch recovery funds.”

Lastly, the motion brings up the headline of a press release issued by MP Wescot-Williams under the headline: “Time to objectively evaluate the World Bank program and bottlenecks”.

In the article the motion refers to, Wescot-Williams addresses the “rigid World Bank procedures.” It refers to “criticism and contradictions” in the execution of the trust fund. The MP calls for “an evaluation to better understand where the bottlenecks are and to come up with ways to improve these.”

Wescot-Williams’ press release also referred to the Guiding Principles of the government of the Netherlands, a document that accompanies the administrative agreement between the World Bank and St. Maarten. It states, among other things that “local labor will be used to the greatest possible extent” and also asks attention for “opportunities for local companies to take part in the implementation (of the execution of trust fund projects).”

The opposition’s motion establishes “that the prime minister has failed to lead her cabinet and by extension St. Maarten to execute the objectives that form the premise of this government.”

The motion resolves “that the prime minister no longer enjoys the confidence of the parliament and seeks her immediate discharge as prime minister and minister of general affairs.”

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Motion No Confidence against PM Leona Romeo Marlin - 4 Feb 2019

FINAL: Draft Motion
The Parliament of Sint Maarten in its meeting of today, February 4, 2019

Considering:

• That the present coalition government of Sint Maarten, led by Prime Minister Leona Marlin is based on a coalition agreement with the premise of transparency, social dialogue, openness, integrity, and communication with a concentrated focus on rebuilding a vibrant economy restoring a strong social fabric and promoting a resilient sense of community;
• That this Government led by Prime Minister Leona Marlin has failed to live up to the abovementioned premise;
• The failure of the Prime Minister Leona Marlin to act timely upon the request by the Airport for a letter of guarantee to secure the necessary financing to rebuild the airport and its facilities;
• That this failure to act has pressured the airport and the government to entertain discussions and conditions for financing which under normal circumstances would not have been entertained;
• That Prime Minister Leona Marlin lacks in transparency, openness, and integrity, which is evident from the fact that the Prime Minister provides information to parliament primarily when called to parliament during meetings requested by opposition parties.
• That Prime Minister Leona Marlin’s ability to lead her cabinet in focusing on rebuilding a vibrant economy is in question when the airport is not given the timely attention when such is requested.
• That Prime Minister Leona Marlin has shown no evidence of results of restoring a strong social fabric and promoting a resilient sense of community;
• That Prime Minister Leona Marlin’s approach to Kingdom Relations does not echo the sentiments and positions taken by her own coalition and could further threaten the autonomous position of Sint Maarten in the Dutch Kingdom;
• That more than a year after the destruction by Hurricane Irma “not a roof has been repaired” with the Dutch Recovery Funds. So stated by the Dutch General Audit Chamber. (Ruim een jaar na de verwoestende orkaan Irma is op Sint Maarten met het Nederlandse geld voor de wederopbouw ‘nog geen dak op het eiland hersteld’. Dat schrijft de Nederlandse Algemene Rekenkamer”.
• Shared concerns by coalition partner Wescott Williams as reflected in the headline in today’s daily paper of a press release issued by the President of Parliament Wescot-Williams: “Time to Objectively Evaluate World Bank Program and Bottlenecks”

ESTABLISHES:

That Prime Minister Leona Marlin has failed to lead her cabinet and by extension Sint Maarten to execute the very same objectives that form the premise of this coalition government.

RESOLVES:
That Prime Minister Leona Marlin no longer enjoys the confidence of the Parliament of Sint Maarten and seeks her immediate discharge as Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs.

And goes over to the order of the day.

Signature/Signatures
__________________ ____________________________

Copies of this motion to be sent to:

The Governor of Sint Maarten
The Government of Sint Maarten
The Parliament of Auba
The Parliament of Curacao
The Government of Aruba
The Government of Curacao

Source: SMN-News.com

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Related articles:
Opposition criticizes airport loans: “You have no deal”
Time to Objectively Evaluate World Bank Program and Bottlenecks, says President of Parliament Wescot-Williams
Opinion piece: “A polite expression of my thoughts” by Hilbert Haar