Published On: Sat, Jun 27th, 2020

“Government finds itself between a rock and a hard place”

United Democrats - 20191121

UD Board: “In order to appease the part of the St. Maarten governing coalition that wants to say “thanks, but no thanks” to the Netherlands, the government finds itself between a rock and a hard place.”

When Prime Minister Jacobs took over from PM Leona Marlin, she knowingly accepted and continued with the State Secretary as her counterpart. Everything that the Leona Marlin cabinet was criticized so heavily for, was still accepted by the current government without as much as a whimper, to mention a few: hospital, airport, pension law, liquidity assistance, border control, etc. AND the negotiations with State Secretary Knops.

What transpired during the latest encounter between the Prime Minister and the State Secretary, we do not know. All we have heard is that the conversation ended abruptly. Did Knops say “this conversation is over”? Again, we do not know and we refuse to speculate and play on the emotions of the people of St. Maarten. That PM Jacobs has written to her Dutch counterpart Rutte is nothing more than face-saving in our opinion. In the meantime, we have learned of Mr. Rutte’s response, which was to be expected.

“What is of concern, however, is what this standoff means for the people of St. Maarten and the promised funding to tide us over this difficult time. Already it is clear than many persons are falling between the cracks where the payroll and unemployment stimuli are concerned. Many fewer persons and businesses than anticipated have received some form of relief. Employees are pitted against employers and the other way around, due to government’s faulty communication. The responsibility for this confusion lies squarely at the door of government”, commented UD leader, Sarah Wescot-Williams.

As the UD recently stated, strong leadership from this UP/NA coalition is sorely lacking and agendas of individuals within the coalition differ hugely.

“To be clear, the government has to govern. We surely understand that the Corona pandemic is a serious blow to our country with unprecedented ramifications.  But we are convinced that the government is trampling the laws of the country and human rights with its approach to unions and employers.”

In order to appease the part of the governing coalition that wants to say “thanks, but no thanks” to the Netherlands, the government finds itself between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, playing hardball and on the other hand, crawling right back.

The NA/UP government needs to firstly align themselves, to regain credibility with the Netherlands and the people of St. Maarten who are affected by the measures ALREADY accepted by the St. Maarten government. In fact, the governing coalition should align themselves, before calling for “all hands on deck”. All hands on deck with what goal precisely?

Until we know government’s plans for this country, politically, economically, environmentally, and socially, we will continue to point out the inconsistencies of the government with respect to the relationship with the Netherlands,  immigration policies, the lack of national dialogue, and the overall divisive tactics.

The Prime Minister of St. Maarten is suddenly concerned about the new entity to monitor the Dutch liquidity support. It should be noted that this is not of today. The St. Maarten government agreed to that intention of the State Secretary, as he expressed it upon approval of St. Maarten’s liquidity assistance, which assistance has been accepted unconditionally by the NA/UP coalition.