Published On: Thu, Apr 2nd, 2020

PFP leaves digital meeting: waste of time

PFP Members of Parliament Melissa Gumbs Rayheon Peterson

PHILIPBURG – Party for Progress Members of Parliament Melissa Gumbs and Raeyhon Peterson walked out of an online meeting of parliament on Monday when it was about to handle the resignation of the (already departed) Chief Financial Officer at the airport.

The meeting had to be adjourned because after the departure of Gumbs and Peterson it no longer had a quorum. In a way, the PFP wrote history: it is the first faction to log off from a digital meeting of parliament.

PFP party leader Gumbs issued a statement to clarify the decision to leave. “The personal decision of a CFO that is no longer there has no relevance for what is happening in St. Maarten at this moment. We cannot, in good conscience, entertain wasting time of the prime minister and the minister of finance, only to hear in the media that they are not doing their job of finishing the stimulus plan while we contributed to holding them hostage on a merry-go-round.”

The meeting of parliament dealt first with the reconstruction of the airport. An urgent request to hold this meeting was filed in February. “As a critical piece of infrastructure the airport’s reconstruction is indeed urgent,” Gumbs says.

But the PFP-leader considered spending time on the departure of an already departed CFO as irrelevant. “We asked ourselves, what is more important? That information not necessarily related to the people’s business is repeatedly demanded or that we become serious about allowing government and its staff the space to do their work and deliver to us a stimulus plan worth commenting on?”

Earlier in her statement, Gumbs observed that “anything not directly related to COVID-19 is probably not a matter of urgency.”

During the election campaign, the PFP vowed “to never walk out on meetings and decision points that directly affect the people of St. Maarten.” That includes budget-meetings, post-disaster financing meetings and legislation with international implications.

Gumbs noted that “several currently sitting MPs have walked out of such meetings in the past, “with little to no remorse.”

The PFP remains “open to answering any questions you may have. We remain committed to conducting efficient and effective work for the people of St. Maarten. Now is not the time for politics.”