PHILIPSBURG – Prime Minister (PM) William Marlin addressed Wednesday’s, April 5, Council of Ministers Press Briefing by first congratulating the new Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Communication (TEATT) Mellisa Arrindell-Doncher on her appointment.
“She came straight from the swearing-in ceremony and had to attend the first Council of Ministers meeting yesterday, which actually was in session…and we hope with this now the opposition would stop questioning when a Minister of TEATT would be appointed,” PM Marlin stated.
He also asked the indulgence of the media in holding off on asking any questions until next week, “As she has just gotten into office today. So she will sit in and get a feel of how things are, but I ask your indulgence to save your questions for next week.”
The PM went on to inform about a letter received on March 20, from Minister Ronald Plasterk announcing that he had submitted to the Kingdom Council of Ministers, a draft to give St. Maarten an instruction to implement the Integrity Chamber.
According to PM Marlin, “Minister Plasterk couldn’t convince me as to his valid reasons for wanting to appoint a quartermaster for St. Maarten” during their meeting in Aruba.
The Prime Minister then had his Secretary General Plantijn send an e-mail to the Secretary General of Minister Plasterk in the Netherlands asking for clarity as to the parameters of the discussion based on their discussions in Aruba.
“To this date we have not received a reply. Therefore, I am leaving on Air France this afternoon to the Netherlands. I will be attending the Kingdom Council of Ministers meeting on Friday, and I will address this topic when it comes on the agenda,” PM Marlin said.
“…When we look at the draft that they have sent us. It is 17 pages of the draft law, and some 28 pages of elucidation to the draft law. They have sent it on the 20th, giving us just about two and a half weeks to prepare for this, or to respond to it,” the Prime Minister explained.
“Just like every other piece of legislation, this was sent to our local Council of Advice…who rushed to make their advice, which has to come to us via the Governor. Also the possibility exists that I would be leaving before we actually received the actual advice from our Council of Advice, but this is just to show that even though Minister Plasterk is part of a caretaker government, he means that at all costs he got to strangle St. Maarten with this measure of supervision, to implement an Integrity Chamber, even though the main reason why the constitutional court gave a negative advice is because of all those conditions that were set by the Dutch government,” PM Marlin continued.
According to Marlin, the Dutch had an obligation based on the agreement to appoint a quartermaster to work along with the St. Maarten quartermaster, and their deadline was July 31, 2015. They never appointed their Quartermaster.
“In discussion with the Legal Affairs Department of St. Maarten, and twisting and bending and forcing them to implement, to put into the draft legislation for the Integrity Chamber to put in those things that Holland insisted on putting in. It’s no public secret I was in Parliament at the time, and I voted against, and I would continue to vote against. I will oppose it in the form that the Dutch government would want to see it, and if they still insist on giving St. Maarten an instruction, then so be it, and let them send the troops to implement, to force their will upon the people of St Maarten,” Prime Minister Marlin stated.
“With all that St. Maarten has done over the past years since 10-10-10, we have the most modern Constitution in the Kingdom, and we had the vision to put in place a Constitutional Court that stands above the politicians. That says the politicians also need to respect the constitution,” he said.
“They want to use the situation of 2015 and probably before to say that we need to come with this, and I’m saying no. If we want to talk, we’re going to talk on the basis of equality. We have four countries in this Kingdom, because if I’m good enough as Prime Minister of St. Maarten to campaign for the Kingdom, to secure a UN security seat for the Kingdom, but then when we are dealing with each other within the Kingdom, then I become your colony once again that you can trample upon any way that you feel like, and you desire, and I’m saying no, it will not be accepted, not by me,” the PM stressed.
“I think we need to stand up once and for all. I am not condoning corruption; I’m not condoning integrity breaches; I’m not condoning wrongdoing, but I’m saying we as the government of St Maarten can and are able, and willing to clean up the mess that we have. I will not on under any circumstances, at least these kind of circumstances, cooperate with the instruction,” Prime Minister Marlin reiterated.