Published On: Sun, Dec 13th, 2020

PFP: Pro Soualiga Does Not Speak for the People


PHILIPSBURG – Party for Progress Members of Parliament Melissa Gumbs and Raeyhon Peterson issued a media statement on Monday, 14 December 2020, stating that the faction has taken note of a letter sent by Foundation Pro Soualiga to His Excellency Governor Drs. Eugene Holiday, the contents and tone of which stirred much concern for them.

“We found the letter incredibly disrespectful towards Governor Holiday,” the faction stated in the release. “Such an attitude and tone towards a son of the soil, whose academic and professional record should not be called into question, is a perfect example of the ‘crabs in the bucket’ mentality that continues to plague us.”

“This letter is not only disrespectful to His Excellency,” the faction stated, “but it also shows why this foundation cannot speak for the people. The lack of basic comprehension of our legal system is clear as day, and their confusion in regards to the role of the Governor showcases this.”

Related link: Letter Pro Soualiga Foundation to Governor re: LMA

“The role of the Governor is simple, and is stated in the law,” the faction explained. “For Country Sint Maarten you can find it in articles 32 and 40 of our Constitution. To be brief, the Government is formed by the King, with the Ministers standing alongside him. In that regard, the Governor represents the King on a national level, and ratifies all national decrees and national ordinances. Without his signature, no official decree can be established. That’s why the Governor is the one who signs all national decrees to hire civil servants to work for Government. Aside from that, the Governor also has a role to play in the Kingdom, as the official representative of the King, according to article 2 of the Charter. His role in this regard is established by Kingdom law, according to this same article. The fact that a foundation is accusing His Excellency of overstepping his authority when it is clearly laid out in the law makes us wonder what their ulterior motive may be.”

Aside from the letter’s disrespectful tone towards the Governor’s person, PFP noted a line in the letter that they found curious and more than a little disturbing. Foundation Pro Soualiga stated in its first paragraph that “As part of our broad task of defending the political and constitutional rights of St. Maarten we bring the following to your attention and respectfully request you to take corrective measures.”

The faction questioned the ‘broad task’ of the alleged non-profit organization.

“So basically,” PFP stated, “this external, allegedly non-profit organization claims to own the task of defending the political and constitutional rights of St. Maarten. Who has given Foundation Pro Soualiga this ‘broad task?’ Where is their democratic mandate for this task? This mandate can only be given by the people of St. Maarten. Further to that, what are their credentials for issuing legal advice and opinions of a constitutional nature? Are they specialized in the realm of Kingdom and/or constitutional law? We wouldn’t let a house doctor perform heart surgery, so why should the Governor, Parliament or any legitimate body of elected or appointed representatives take Kingdom and constitutional law advice from someone not specialized in that field?”

The PFP faction voted against a November 5th motion brought to the floor by MP Grisha Heyliger-Marten, in large part because of point three of the motion, which stated that Parliament would endorse the private initiative of Foundation Pro Soualiga. They believe that their concerns over that point of the motion have been validated with the organization’s ill-mannered communication to the Governor.

“Whatever way it is twisted,” the faction stated, “endorsing someone’s message means to carry their words and reputation on your back. There’s a reason athletes, actors, and others are dropped by big companies when they suffer from foot-in-mouth syndrome: the company can no longer endorse someone who acts in direct contradiction to their values. This is why, as a faction, we could never have agreed to that motion. We value clear, transparent and respectful dialogue and communication with whomever we are engaging, and it is clear that this alleged non-profit foundation does not remotely match those values.”

The faction reminds the general public that the foundation does not speak for the Party for Progress faction of the Parliament of St. Maarten, nor should they continue to behave as though they speak for the entire Parliament of St. Maarten in their falsely-claimed ‘broad task’ of protecting this country’s political and democratic rights. Only the people of St. Maarten can grant that particular mandate to a legitimately elected and/or appointed body or agency: in this case, the Parliament of St. Maarten, and the Government of St. Maarten.