Published On: Mon, Sep 23rd, 2019

Sarah fires off a series of questions at newly formed coalition

Sarah Wescot-Williams - U2 Can Move founderPHILIPSBURG — In a series of prerecorded messages sent to our news desk, Member of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams gave commentaries on the recent political developments and fired off a series of critical questions at the newly formed coalition headed by NA-leader Silveria Jacobs.

In the first voice note Wescot-Williams explained why she submitted her resignation as Chairperson of Parliament.

“I did this on Sunday evening, September the 22nd, after having learned that, firstly, a new coalition has been formed, but in addition to that, that the position of chairperson of Parliament, as part of those negotiations to come to a new government, had been assigned to a member of Parliament.” she said. “Information reaching me indicated that the position has been assigned by the new coalition to a member of Parliament of the USP party.”

Wescot-Williams goes on to explain that “to appoint a new chair, the current chair, in this case myself, will either have to be dismissed or, as the rules of order state, relieved of my duties by a majority in parliament. I can resign or I could have resigned at any time from the position of chairperson. Having learn of the aforementioned, namely a formation of a new coalition and the assigning of the chairperson’s seat to a member who supports that new coalition, I decided to resign, and I did not want to give the newly formed coalition the opportunity to dismiss me as chairperson. Hence my decision to resign.”

“I have also been asked what happens between now and when this new chairperson is appointed by the newly formed coalition. Well, I will have to occupy the position until that position is voted upon by a majority in Parliament and the new chairperson is elected.” Wescot-Williams said as she ended the first voice note.

In a second voice note, Wescot-Williams goes on to say that “I am on record stating that the shift in parliament’s majority should not automatically be counteracted with dissolution of parliament and calling election by the government. I have maintained this stance, much to the chagrin of other politicians in the past. And it all depended on which side of the fence they themselves at that particular time.”

“I look at the most recent changes or change in parliament and the arguments those now supporting a new coalition are using. So I wonder, looking at the immediate political future of the country, considering that there will be a new coalition with, I guess, usual instructions to the sitting government, what will these instructions be. The Jacobs coalition wants a formateur to propose new ministers and look for common ground between the MPs forming the new coalition. I wish them luck!”

“So I guess we will have a caretaker government, ordered by the new coalition to do or not to do. You will have a screening process for ministers and in the most optimistic case, and that is being very optimistic, taking four to five weeks. Then you need a new parliament that will have to sit within three months of its dissolution. In the meantime, I believe, unfortunately, not one step forward can be or will be made in the general interest at a time when so much is at stake. The only way the people of St. Maarten will see any type of progress, in terms of the reconstruction projects and programs that have already started, is if this new coalition that has been so critical of everything regarding the reconstruction, now turns around and basically says we will continue with the program that has been fought for and agreed to by the UD/SMCP coalition.”

Wescot-Williams concluded her voice note by saying: “In the coming days I will lay out exactly where these different projects stand; the amount of money that has already been committed, if not committed, allocated to projects on St. Maarten and the money that has already been actually disbursed. This information as I said before, which is the information about all the projects that have come via the trust fund, will be provided to the people of St. Maarten in the coming days.”

In the third voice note, Wescot-Williams poses a number of critical questions, directed at the newly formed coalition.

“I am, as most persons on St. Maarten, anxiously awaiting the governing accord of the recently formed coalition under the leadership of MP Silveria Jacobs.

Will we get the true answers to this government’s formation from that accord or must we go by statements made by the individual MPs who now make up this new coalition. Matters that individuals of this new coalition have hammered consistently and even threatened the Leona Romeo-Marlin cabinet with, are the following:

– The Trust Fund agreement. Will the Jacobs coalition turn this back?
– The Dutch liquidity budget support. Will this now be refused?
– The CFATF recommendations. In other words, the legislation against money laundering and terrorism financing. Will these laws be retracted by the new coalition?
– The new hospital project. Will this be halted?
– The airport financing. Will the Dutch and EIB loans be refused?
– The garbage dump. Will a waste processing contract be given without any bidding process to the company Envirogreen as suggested recently by a member of Parliament who now supports the new coalition?
– Will the General Health Insurance providing medical coverage to all St. Maarteners be shelved.
– The Integrity Chamber. Will this be supported by the new coalition? Yes or no?
– Will the William Marlin’s proposal for law to punish shipjumpers be enacted at this time?
– Will the management of our sea port be outsourced to Global Ports and, if so, under what conditions?

The newly formed coalition has indicated that they will be working on an improved relationship with the Dutch government. What exactly is the intention for this relationship? Must we wait to see the new coalition members affix their signature to the explanation of these and other matters or will the new coalition members take up the responsibility and explain to the people of St. Maarten where they stand on these issues.

The individual members of the new coalition have had some strong expressions on matters and again I want to mention just a few…. the hospital, the dump, general health insurance and especially the trust fund and the Dutch liquidity budget support. Are these persons now going to basically with their tails between their legs, crawl back to these very matters that they have hammered, not only the Leona Romeo-Marlin cabinet but the entire coalition of the UD/SMCP at the time.

This question needs to be posed, not only to the NA and the USP, but I think even more so, to those who have left the UD party and the UD/SMCP coalition and have joined up with the NA and the USP.

To the nine members of parliament forming the new coalition, I await your answers to the questions.”