Published On: Thu, Jun 15th, 2023

PFP, Heyliger-Marten Request Meeting of Parliament Building Committee

Previous request by Wescot-Williams not honored

PHILIPSBURG – PFP members of Parliament Melissa Gumbs and Raeyhon Peterson, as well as an independent member of Parliament Grisha Heyliger-Marten, submitted a request for an urgent meeting of the Ad-hoc Committee New Parliament Building. This request followed the indication that the meeting requested by MP Wescot would not be called. Gumbs, Peterson, and Heyliger-Marten, as members, submitted a new request for a meeting, in the presence of the Minister of Finance, who has been highlighted as being the one to spearhead the project.

“MP Wescot’s original request stemmed from the May 29 public tender announcement by the Government, sharing many concerns that MPs have,” Peterson states. “The announcement invited developers to participate in the tender, which requires potential candidates to design, finance, build, lease, operate, manage, and transfer one or more phases of a proposed three-phase project. One phase is the new Parliament building and parking garage. Normally, this would not have raised eyebrows but interested candidates were told to request the tender documentation via an email address belonging to Luxury Villa Technologies, or LVT. I find it very strange that an external company is being used to handle government’s tendering process.”

LVT has its registered office in Marigot, but further research shows that LVT is linked to IMCS – IT Management and Consultancy Sint Maarten NV.

“On June 7th, MP Wescot issued a press release related to her request for an urgent meeting of the same committee,” Gumbs states. “On Monday, June 12th, we received a convocation for a closed-door meeting of the committee that would happen on Wednesday, June 14th. While I won’t share the details of what was discussed a closed-door, I will state that I asked if the meeting originally requested was still going to be planned. To that, Chairman of the Committee MP Marlin stated that due to MP Wescot not being a member of the committee, the meeting request was not admissible. This is not regulated anywhere, to be honest. If being a member of a committee was so critical, then it reasons that only members should be allowed to speak in committee meetings. As it stands, any MP, whether a member or not, can speak in a committee meeting.”

Regarding the request for the presence of the Minister of Finance, MP Heyliger-Marten had this to say: “We were all off island when the tender announcement was made. The involvement of an outside company in this tender process raised many eyebrows when the news dropped. It’s noted that the Minister of Finance is the so-called “trekker” or supervisor of this whole thing, so he should be able to answer questions about the company’s role, the anticipated cost of the project, and the criteria for who can bid. Otherwise, there is a serious lack of transparency with how this is being handled.”

The MPs requested that the meeting be called prior to 30 June 2023, considering Parliament begins its recess the following week.

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