PHILIPSBURG – Prime Minister William Marlin addressed the media in Wednesday’s, May 3, Council of Ministers Press briefing.
He first congratulated the Carnival Committee for hosting another successful event, and “I think standing on the sidelines this year I was able to witness sort of a transformation of Carnival for the past couple of years,” he said.
“Those my age, a little older, a little younger, have been complaining and yearning for the days of the past…these are things of the past, which were good, which we enjoyed, but are no longer there and will never come back, so we can hope for Carnival the way it used to be, but I don’t think it will return no matter how much we may want to, no matter how much effort we would put into it, because we would in essence be in the minority,” the Prime Minister reflected.
PM Marlin also noted, “We have seen a lot of young people in the troupes, we have seen a lot of young people in the J’ouvert, we have seen a lot of young people in the jump-ups leading up to the Carnival, but this year we have also seen quite some young people taking part in Carnival, which means that it is a step in the right direction. In the sense that once they get the feel and the fever for it, they will remain there, looking at their ages, for probably 20 or 30 years to come.”
He also made mention of the length of the Carnival parade this year. “In terms of the length of the parade, it has been the longest one I have witnessed in many years… There were years that we said ‘my gosh, it’s over’ and this time we were wondering when will it end. Not that we were hoping it wouldn’t, but at a given moment it became kind of long,” PM Marlin observed.
The Prime Minister congratulated the Carnival Development Foundation for hosting another successful event. “We believe there were quite some tourists, who came out to enjoy the event, which is also a good indication and…Suzette Moses that came down with a group of Travel Agents from the Netherlands to expose them to Carnival, and to promote Carnival in Europe and in particular the Netherlands,” he said.
He also extended heartfelt sympathy to the Thomas family on “the loss of their daughter/granddaughter/niece.”
“It is tragic indeed. It still remains a mystery, but from what we have been gathering and have been told seemingly there was an overdose of ecstasy put in a drink…Parents were also concerned and asked if government should speak out, and the police should be on the lookout or should visit sort of undercover in establishments,” the Prime Minister said.
“There is a move out there, and through the Minister of Justice would like to call on the authorities, the police, to step up vigilance and if need be we have to post undercover plainclothes officers in certain establishments to keep an eye on these things. The establishment is not the promoter obviously, but people would use places where people would hang out and have a drink to kind of get people under the influence of this drug and in so doing manipulate the minds of these people,” the PM observed.
Prime Minister also informed that last week, he confirmed his attendance to the One Belt-One Road conference, which is May 14-15, in Beijing, China. “It is an initiative by the Chinese government to establish new economic and business routes throughout the world bringing countries together. It is an honour for me to have been invited, and I’ve accepted the invitation,” PM Marlin explained.
“I will share more with you probably via a press release, as I will outline some of the things because I don’t have the documentation in front of me of the topics that will be discussed and raised at the conference,” he continued. Some 21 countries have confirmed their attendance to the conference so far.
In addition, the PM mentioned the warning system. “I’ve read articles about the warning system whereby it was said that the decision was taken over a year ago, but that the Finance Department had not released the funding for the payments to be made. So I will be looking into it. So no need to ask any additional questions…I cannot provide any answers today, but I will do some research and questioning to find out why the payment has not yet been made,” the Prime Minister explained.
He also extended condolences to the family of Carmen Jacobs, to Greg Arrindell and the rest of the family, and to the mother of Earl “Churchie” York and the rest of the York family.
He made special mention of Maria Bass, who worked at the Tax Inspectorate. “On behalf of Government and the entire Council of Ministers… we extend deepest sympathies to the family of Maria Bass, who has succumbed to a long bout of illness. Maria has been in and out of office and it’s like whenever she had garnered enough strength she would come out, put in some hours and then sort of disappear again,” PM Marlin said.
“We pray for the family and extend our sympathies and hope that we find comfort in the coming days and may the souls of all these departed rest in peace,” the Prime Minister concluded.