PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Independent Member of Parliament Christophe Emmanuel on Monday said that government’s continued lack of controls for mass gatherings and events is alarming, reckless and irresponsible. “We are gambling with people’s lives,” he said.
The MP said the images and videos circulating of various events on the island over the past weekend depict “shockingly reckless behavior” and called on the Minter of TEATT and Justice to finally put their words to action. “We cannot be complacent because we are rolling out vaccines. We should be pushing vigilance and controlling what’s happening, not allowing these events,” the MP said.
The MP said every day new flyers for mass gathering events are popping up via social media and there is this perception that the party goes on without care of what is still happening with the pandemic. In the meantime, he said, government continues to issue notices warning that it intends to be strict and enforce measures if events and/or establishments are not in accordance to the regular COVID protocols.
“We can’t be serious,” the MP said. “We put out these warning notices and then there are no actions taken. The images and videos of what is happening on St. Maarten during this pandemic are irresponsible,” the MP said. “We still have cases here. We still live in a region with cases and new, more infectious and deadly variants. We see what is happening on Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire. What are we doing? For the love of St. Maarten can we be consistent about something, anything?”
MP Emmanuel said that despite the thorough and commendable efforts of the Carnival Foundation to introduce very strict protocols, he was in agreement to cancel that event as well as the Regatta. “It had nothing to do with those two organizations, it was government. The decision at that time was reckless and what is being allowed now, again by government, is just as reckless if not even more so.
“We cancelled our two largest events that actually had protocols in place, but allow these various mass gatherings with apparently little to no protocols in place. We have to get serious in this country with people’s lives,” the MP said.