PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — With the Prime Minister of St. Maarten announcing almost daily that plans and programs associated with the COHO and country packages have already commenced, Independent MP Christophe Emmanuel has questioned if the PM and her government have lost all respect for the people and Parliament of St. Maarten.
MP Emmanuel said the PM has not lived up to her word to update Parliament and the people on a regular basis at the onset of COVID. No Parliament meeting other than an emergency session to give her permission to sign for the COHO or extensive press conferences has been held to discuss the contents of the country package as negotiated by the government, the agreement signed and the major consequences thereof for the people of St. Maarten. As such, he stressed, the government has been avoiding critical questions and having to give account for its actions.
He added that the Prime Minister is now very comfortable in making broad and empty statements for the media to consume, with no care in the world about substance. “For example, and I’m quoting the Prime Minister: “We are developing our implementation strategy for the package of reforms which is to be complementary to the projects and initiatives already in place via the Trust Fund and World Bank.”
“What is this implementation strategy? What is the content of the reform packages? Which projects and initiatives already in place will they complement and how? How will these directly benefit our people? State Secretary Knops have seemingly rubbed off on the Prime Minister with her broad open statements, with no relevant content,” Emmanuel said.
Shifting directly to coalition MPs, he said they are betraying their obligation to the country and to their voters. “People did not elect you to sit idly by and say nothing. You are members of Parliament. Impossible you can sit by and allow yourselves to become rubber stamps. You are obligated to inform the people about changes coming to their lives, positive and especially negative. Has it been forgotten that ‘Only we can save we?” Emmanuel said. Or was that statement a farce?”
Emmanuel questioned the position of all MPs supporting the government, their commitment to their individual campaign platforms, assurances to the people and, more notably, the governing program outlining their vision for St. Maarten in the current governing term. Time and effort, he said, was spent by all supporting MPs in the governing program. “It is supposed to be your vision. What is your vision now? To sit back and throw up your hands come what may?”
“None of them seem to care anymore about common courtesy with the people of St. Maarten who elected them to office. We all obviously understand that COVID-19 has dictated change in many areas. But it has not dictated that a government can leave its people or its Parliament in the dark and not explain in detail what is happening and the changes they can expect,” Emmanuel said
Emmanuel said he will be requesting a few meetings this week and he hopes to get the support of MPs at this very crucial time for St. Maarten and its people.