ST. PETERS – I have stated time and time again that at some point “somebody has to make a stand somewhere,” to raise the bar and stop making decisions in the best interest of politics and self. Instead we need to start MAKING firm decisions in the best interest of our people and St. Maarten.
This was a very challenging three weeks for me personally with my family as my rock, where I ask God for strength and wisdom and his guidance to move St. Maarten forward. What I have learnt within these weeks is if you kneel before God you can stand before any man and speak the truth. It is sad that we have some Leaders and politicians that speaks with two tongues on every issue and can twist the truth to their benefit. We need to be honest and transparent with the people’s business and stop confusing the people and taking bits and pieces of the constitution articles to twist them to our likening and interpretation. Some Leaders like to say one thing in front of the people that sounds good to the masses but do another thing behind the scene as the UP Leader has done on the Billy Dee Program today.
I have known the UP Leader for 25 years as a friend and 15 years working as his Advisor, so if there is anyone who knows him is Maurice Lake. I find it strange that he is saying today that power, position and ministry and others manipulate me to break Government for self-interest. I was brought up with principles and values where power, position and money never got to my head.
It is sad that some people don’t get to know you as a person but are the first to slander your name in public behind a false name when you take a stand for the poor people. I have three Master’s Degrees and work hard for my family for everything I got in life and never asked Theo Heyliger for nothing in life. The main reason I got into politics is not only about party loyalty but to serve the general interest of the people and address the issues affecting the people with a plan of action to move St. Maarten forward.
What really change my way of thinking is going to the Ombudsman anti-corruption conference in Curacao where I realize our need to take a stand and raise the bar and put checks and balances in place within Government and Government Owned Companies. I also would like to publicly thank the Ombudsman for inviting Parliament to the conference because it was an eye opener to me to take a stand and raise the bar within my party in government and Parliament in the general interest of the people. This stand will definite change the way we do politics in the future and work toward electoral reform.
I have never seen anything like this in the history of working as an advisor to the UP Leader of Government who is very active behind the scenes on this issue but tells the public he doesn’t tell the PM and other Ministers what to do. I can remember we were the first always to respect the Governor’s decision and let our appointed Ministers do the honorable thing and resign their position as soon as possible. Now there is a passed motion in Parliament of a vote of no confidence where he was present and didn’t say a word. I would like to know if we HAVE GOTTEN away from those principles and values now and just let our Prime Minister continue to embarrass himself in public and to the outside world?
I have been very patient for nine months by talking to my Leader and Ministers, sending emails without much feedback and results for the people. Now they accusing me of being among a pack of wolves when they behind the scene wanting to form another coalition behind my back with the same pack of wolves, not being a team player when there was only divided groups. Asking me behind the scene to pull back my support and join back the team and get any Ministry in return. I never ask for nothing other than to help the people and set priorities within our Governing Program. It’s very sad to hear from the UP Leader twisting his tongue about the reasons this MP is asking a job here and there for persons or fix this problem or do illegal questionable things for them. Just for the record, I have never asked the UP Leader or any Minister to do illegal questionable things for me. I always tell him to continue to create jobs (legally) for the small man especially for the boys in the different districts as I did when I was Minister.
I have the emails, letters, witnesses and newspaper clippings to show how long I have waited patiently for them to start helping the people by setting priorities within our Governing Program for the Ministers to start executing the work instead of waiting just before elections to start the projects they promised to the people. The only reason I didn’t leave before is because of MP Meyers intervention because the Leader was missing in action for a long period of time. Imagine I was on my own and they didn’t know me but only now they want to talk and start planning and working for the people with signing off some projects and quick wins behind the scene fast within the last two weeks to fool the people. How fast we forget that proper planning prevents poor performance.
I am not a politician as some of our Leaders who have failed the people by not executing our vision, mission and priorities within our Governing program. St. Maarten don’t need more politicians but leaders that going to stand up for the people. Political Office shouldn’t be about enriching yourself but to work for the people. I came into office with nothing and I will leave office with nothing other than I have taken a stand for the people. Some of our people need to free their mind from mental slavery of standing behind leaders that don’t do nothing for the general interest of the people.
As the book of Ester says if I perish, I perish but I’m going to see the KING. Esther was willing to take a stand for her people even though it could cost her, her life. This weekend I read my psalms, The Book of Jeremiah 1-10 and 2nd Timothy 1-5 and ask God for strength and wisdom on my new journey of standing for the people. We need to start putting St. Maarten first.
My main reasons of principle for not supporting the UP Government were not for personal reasons, self-interest, manipulated by someone or not getting a Ministry but were as follows: lack of leadership within the UP, long delay in the appointment of Council of Ministers, the UP Party failed to execute the Governing Program without setting priorities for projects and the people, delay in the expansion of the Hospital when health care was high priority on the list, lack of employment for the local people, no major projects, lack of improved services for the senior citizens, setting priorities in the Educational System, delay in recognizing the University of St. Martin and its expansion plan, delay in payments for the boys with the 2 years trench cleaning program; no movement in marketing activities for the island, no movement of any economic creation activities & local entrepreneurship programs and I can go on and on based on our Governing Program under the theme “We Ready and serving the people”. Maybe the Leader can tell the people what has been done in the past nine months for the people of St. Maarten.
I can tell you what we have done behind the scene for self-interest by giving up power for a stable government: draft MOU for Waste to Energy Plant, complete business agreement between SZV and the Harbor Group of Companies & ZEBEC, give away Emilio Wilson for nothing to Rain Forest, give away the Vorst property, give away the Economic Park to the Chamber of Commerce, getting rid of Ms. Regina Labega for political reasons and the list goes on and on.
We need to “Get Back to Basics” and bring back stability into our economy, improving, marketing and protecting our primary Tourism Industry and most of all creating jobs for our people. Simple things makes a big difference in our community in which we are not doing to uplift our people.
As a Member of Parliament, I worked on abolishing the expat law in the public sector and finalizing the initiative law to amend the processing of the residence permit fees to make it non-refundable and requesting a Central Meeting to review the articles of incorporations for government owned companies and foundations.
The first task we need to do is balance the Budget, Electoral Reform, start the expansion plan of our Hospital, complete the new Government Building, Recognition and expansion plan for the University, build affordable housing with bidding for our people and other major projects and quick win work to create jobs to move St. Maarten forward.
We need to review the articles of incorporation of foundations and government owned companies to better serve the people of St. Maarten on the basis of transparency, openness and accountability. If SZV can invest 10 million dollars of the people money to settle an agreement between the Harbour Group of Companies and Zebec and called it a business deal with a return on investment, then SZV can also invest and upgrade their services, medication, vitamins for the senior citizens and the people of St. Maarten who they are not doing any favours but the people pay for their services.
The same for NV GEBE who sit on millions and other Government Owned Companies which need to start investing into our economy and the local people. We need to review the articles of incorporation for Kadaster, NIPA and other school boards to better serve the people and also hold Board Members accountable for their poor decision making and not providing documentation to the Ombudsman.
I can assure you for one thing, you will see some major changes on boards and better investment plans of Government Owned Companies and Foundations for the people.
We all are professionals elected by the people and I have to live with my stand and decision in the best interest of the people. I respect MP Leona Marlin, MP Tamara Leonard, MP Dr. Lloyd Richardson & MP Janchi Leonard; for their professionalism and work ethics very much in the best interest of the people. It’s a pity some of our Leaders try to create confusion by putting other MPs against each other about who got a Ministry but we need to rise above those petty politics and show political maturity.
In closing, I just want to assure the people of St. Maarten, we will get “back to basics” by bringing stability back and set priorities and quick wins in the best interest of the people.
MY career changing decision was solely based on my principles and values.