Chris to residents: be vigilant and attentive under new country status

MP Christopher Emmanuel


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PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Independent Member of Parliament Christophe Emmanuel on Wednesday appealed to residents to be vigilant and attentive to the new country status the Silveria Jacobs led government has placed the people under and the serious consequences to come, while he does his part to inform them “every step along the way”.

He stressed that his obligation as an elected member of Parliament is to always be forthcoming with the people of St. Maarten even if this means standing alone. “I want the people to understand clearly that they are now under higher supervision. And a people under higher supervision cannot exercise genuine free will,” he said.

The MP said that a majority of residents do not understand what just happened which is a direct result of a “campaign of mis-information” by the Prime Minister, supported by the now “very silent” members of Parliament. Most people, he said, is of the belief that St. Maarten signed a document to receive monetary assistance and that’s it. “They have not been told about the baggage that comes along that will directly change their lives in ways they never thought they would have to endure,” the MP said.

He goes on to mention, for example, not just the far reaching powers of control the COHO and CFT will have over all  of government, its budget and government entities, but the very little regard for the role of Parliament and the repetitive notion in the law of “stopping support” should initiatives by the COHO and CFT not be passed.  “All of this from an entity that will be based in Holland, run by Dutch technocrats,” he said.

Closer to the people, he mentioned additional cuts for civil servants in addition to the 12.5% cut not discussed with civil servants or unions, the implementation of a VAT tax of 12.5% which is an extremely regressive tax that negatively affects the poor, “so your cost of living, food ect will only become more expensive.” “Then we have possibilities of property taxes based on the size of your house and situation of leased land, additional vehicular taxes, direct control over personnel matters, relaxing legislation to make it easier to hire foreign workers and dismiss local people from employment, increasing the retirement age to 67 and so much more,” he said.

“The dissection is coming, the information is coming, the truth is coming because it obviously will not come from the Prime Minister or any Minister or MP outside of myself,” he said. “I urge the people to listen, read, ask questions and hold this government accountable. When the consensus law, for what I call a new country status, comes to Parliament, I urge my people to listen well to every single MP who will try to sell this law and entire package to them,” MP Emmanuel said.

In a nutshell, MP Emmanuel continued, the Prime Minister, her cabinet and supporting MP’s, gifted colonialism to the people of St. Maarten. “She did exactly what she said she would not. She said she would not be the Prime Minister to sign us back into colonialism. And she did, she knows she did. But the PM and other MP’s have been using the term “country above self” like this is an election campaign.

“If it was truly country above all for them, now was the time they had to stand firm. Now was the time they had to demand answers from the Minister of Finance about our exact liquidity position, now was the time to recall 2017 and question how can we sign without knowing details, now was the time to question what happens to the vision of the coalition for St. Maarten now that they are no longer in control of their country. But they didn’t. On the contrary it was self above country because they lacked the political courage to vote their conscience and betrayed their people in the process. I urge the people of St. Maarten to be vigilant now because now is when you will be needed most,” Emmanuel concluded.