Published On: Fri, Dec 6th, 2019

MP Smith not pleased that Parliament meeting on agriculture was postponed

Minister Wycliffe Smith deputizing for Minister of Justice - 29 May 2019

PHILIPSBURG — Member of Parliament, Wycliffe Smith, said that he is not pleased that the urgent public meeting, requested by his predecessor MP Claude Peterson of the SMCP Faction in Parliament, was postponed. On October 23rd, 2019, former MP Peterson requested this urgent public meeting of Parliament with the Minister of VROMI to discuss the land situation with regard to Mr. Denicio Wyatte. Seven days later, on October 30th Peterson followed up with a second letter again requesting the urgent meeting. Eventually, this meeting was scheduled for December 6, 2019, a whole month later. So much for urgent public meetings!

Peterson had requested the Minister of VROMI to give a status update regarding the Government’s lease land or rental agreement with Mr. Wyatte. Over the years, Mr. Wyatte has been recognized locally, regionally and internationally for the great job that he has been doing to promote agriculture on Sint Maarten. It is unfortunate that Wyatte has to undergo such uncertainty as to his legal claim to the land that he is currently using for his agricultural programs and projects. In his letter to the Chairman of Parliament, Peterson mentioned that Wyatte had “been living in uncertainty with his present [land] situation for the past few years and he has been a victim of the instability in Government and [the] changing of Ministers”. Indeed, the current Minister of VROMI, Chris Wever, is the fourth Minister that Wyatte is now dealing with and he hopes that Wever will be able to offer a sustainable solution to the land problem. It is for this reason that former MP Peterson called for an urgent public meeting.

Member of Parliament, Wycliffe Smith, who is replacing former MP Peterson, also considers this meeting, which was called for Friday, December 6 at 2:00 pm of utmost importance. Even though MP Smith, together with MPs Wescott-Williams, Emmanuel and Brison, was selected to represent the Parliament in Saba at the Saba Day Celebrations on December 6th, Smith decided to cancel his flight to Saba and to stay to attend the public meeting.

When it comes to putting the people’s business first both Smith and Peterson have deferred traveling and given priority to matters pertaining to the people. As Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Smith is known to be the least traveled Minister.

In fact, MP Smith requested the Chairman of Parliament, via a letter dated Monday, December 2nd to reschedule the meeting for Thursday, December 5th if possible. However, in his letter MP Smith also made it clear to the Chairman that he would not travel to Saba to represent Parliament if the meeting could not be shifted. The following day, December 3rd, the Secretary General informed MP Smith that the meeting could not be rescheduled. Hence, MP Smith cancelled his flight to Saba so as to be able to attend Friday’s meeting.

Regrettably, on Friday morning, December 6th, the Public Meeting was postponed until further notice upon the request of the Minister of VROMI. What does this mean for Mr. Wyatte? How long will Parliament have to wait before another meeting is convened to get an update from the Minister of VROMI regarding the land lease agreement with Mr. Wyatte? MP Smith says that he will be requesting the Chairman to reconvene this urgent meeting with the Minister before the Parliament goes on Christmas recess.