~ Says loss of benefits could be forever ~
PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Independent Member of Parliament Chistophe Emmnuel on Tuesday said the government or St. Maarten, led by Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, has invited up civil servants and others to join the poverty line and brace for a state of suffering from which government has no exit plan other than to wait until the Dutch tell them they can give the people what’s due to them. “First she signed for colonialism, now she invites poverty, This government has done nothing to secure our people,” the MP said.
The MP cast government and in Particular PM Jacobs as careless, unprepared and devoid of any sense of conscience and empathy as she took orders from the Netherlands without putting up a fight for St. Maarten. When looking at the miniscule savings that salary and benefit cuts would result for St. Maarten, Emmanuel said “it is clear that the Prime Minister, her cabinet and the MP’s that support her government, sold St. Maarten people down the river for pennies and years of supervision like children.”
How, the MP asked, do you call a law temporary and cannot say when the ending date is. “We have had several things that were supposed to be temporary and ended up being permanent. You are affecting people lives with these cuts and can’t tell them when the suffering will end and they can return to a lifestyle they are accustomed to? It is illegal!,” he stressed.
MP Emmanuel was critical of the Prime Minister after receiving what he termed “empty and at time non-sensical answers” during the Central Committee meeting on Tuesday on legislation to regulate benefits and salary cuts of officials of government owned entities and subsidized foundations. He said the fact that the Prime Minister could not answer questions posed by MPs showed that they simply did little to no due diligence on the laws they are asking Parliament to approve.
He chastised government for skipping several legal steps in its haste to “ram these laws down people’s throats. “The government’s continued position that there is a time restraint and therefor certain advisory steps were bypassed and/or supporting documentation not provided is ludicrous at best. Government has to be able to present supporting documentation to their arguments that cuts had to be made and show how these proposed cuts equate to financial stability for government in the long term in order to justify the cuts. Why didn’t government request these companies and entities for their support in providing this information post haste as they would surely understand the urgency in the matter should they want to continue receiving government’s financial support. In any event, this documentation should already be in government’s hands or on its way to government as this is one of the stipulations to receive subsidy.”
“The government did not negotiate anything with the Dutch. They went along with what was shoved in their face. How do you come to a meeting with answers like ‘I’m not too certain’ , ‘I don’t know. ‘I will have to check’. Question were based on what was in the laws or related. Here you are asking Parliament to approve laws and you know nothing? Nothing on crucial question,” Emmanuel asked.
He explained that the PM could not even explain from where and how the figure of 12.5% came. “She couldn’t say what it was based on, who recommended it, based on what study, nothing. It was something from the Dutch and she said ok, I’ll take it. Then we hear that the CFT will be instructing entities such as the school boards how and where to make their cuts. Here we are, debating local ordinances, for the Dutch and the CFT to tell our entities where and how to cut. And then they say it’s not a take-over. So basically Parliament is being asked to pass laws based on nothing, based on Dutch opinions, not on what we know to be right and legal,” Emmanuel said.
“I’ve been telling the people of St. Maarten for months that this government sold them out and will cast them into poverty. And here we have it on full display,” he added.
MP Emmanuel said government should be “damn shame of themselves” for implementing cuts of people and can’t tell the people when the end date of these measures is. He said it ads “salt to the wound” to tell the people to take cuts and “put you best foot forward” but ignore that is it simple human decency and the legal way to tell them for how long.
“Through one side of her mouth, the Prime Minister cried us a river and chastised the Dutch for offering insulting terms and harsh conditions and the other side she praises her agreement with the Dutch as a new positive beginning with the Netherlands. Man stop it. You failed the people and with the upcoming taxes the CFT and the Dutch will impose on the people, you are going to put them on the poverty line,” the MP said.