Published On: Mon, Dec 14th, 2020

Political grandstanding

By Hilbert Haar

Something does not add up. On November 5 the Parliament approved with an overwhelming majority a motion that declares, among many other things, support for attempts by the obscure Pro Soualiga Foundation to complete the decolonization process of the former Netherlands Antilles. The same foundation also maintains that the Kingdom Charter is not a lawful legal instrument and that it can therefore not be used as the basis for legislation.

Said Kingdom Charter is of course instrumental to the creation of the consensus kingdom law Caribbean Reform Entity which, in turn, is a condition for receiving the third tranche of liquidity support.

State Secretary Drs. Raymond Knops demands a statement from Parliament that it accepts the legal basis for the creation of said kingdom law. Otherwise he won’t put his signature to an agreement that would give St. Maarten access to more and sorely needed liquidity support.

On November 5, eleven members of Parliament supported the motion and thereby the activities and positions of the Pro Soualiga Foundation. USP’s member of Parliament Akeem Arrindell is visibly missing from the list of names voting on the motion.

Voting list to establish Decolonization Committee passed 11-3>>>

On December 11, Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs wrote in a letter to Knops that she has the support from the majority in parliament.

That is of course an interesting statement because it does not hold up very well against the vote in favor of the November-5 motion.

If Jacobs is right – and I cannot exclude that possibility – it must mean that she has managed to turn at least six MPs who voted in favor on November 5 against that same motion. That is the only way to create a slim one-vote majority for the statement that Knops wants to see by Wednesday.

This seems like an unlikely scenario but if it becomes a reality many people on the island will produce a serious sigh of relief.

Swinging the vote in Parliament in a way that will satisfy the State Secretary requires that quite some MPs swallow their anti-Dutch attitude. Among them are, for sure, UP faction leader Grisha Heyliger-Marten, independent MP Christophe Emmanuel, NA-stalwart William Marlin and possibly also NA-MP George Pantophlet. Throw USp-MPs Claudius Buncamper and Akeem Arrindell into the mix together with Parliament’s President Rolando Brison, plus the fact that UD-MP Sarah Wescot-Williams is off-island and you have an interesting mathematical problem.

Jacobs needs at least one of these seven MPs to change their mind – and that only works if she has somehow managed to get MPs Bijlani, Duncan, Ottley, Richardson and Roumou on board.

In a worst case scenario the Parliament will stick to its guns; the second-worst option is a 7-7 vote which would mean that a motion to accept the legal basis for the consensus kingdom law will not be approved.

There is of course a third way by which twelve belligerent parliamentarians bow their heads to State Secretary Knops’ wishes. In that case they will have wasted a hell of a lot of time on meaningless political grandstanding.


Related articles:
Knops demands that Parliament accepts legal basis for consensus kingdom law
Letter PM Jacobs to State Secretary Knops – 12 Dec 2020
Letter State Secretary Knops to PM Jacobs – 13 Dec 2020
Now or never: Knops demands hard guarantees in exchange for liquidity support
Opinion by Hilbert Haar: “Will Parliament play hardball?
PFP: Pro Soualiga Does Not Speak for the People
Letter Pro Soualiga Foundation to Governor re: LMA