~ Says Doncher the latest scapegoat for govt. failures ~
PHILIPDBURG, Sint Maarten — Independent Member of Parliament Christophe Emmanuel on Wednesday said that two things became very clear when State Secretary Raymond Knops once again blackmailed St. Maarten in return for liquidity: The Dutch government recognizes that they are dealing with a weak St. Maarten government and an even weaker Prime Minister and the professed integrity of the Dutch government is worthless.
In the aftermath of the letter, Emmanuel said the PM and her government put their weakness on full display when they suspended the Chairman of the airport holding board Dexter Doncher for doing what they (the government) supported all along, claiming corporate governance failures which, the MP said, ironically implicates the government for failure of oversight. “At some point it becomes about leadership. Where was that from the Prime Minister?” Emmanuel asked.
Emmanuel was referring to Knops most recent letter to Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs in which he said there will be no fifth tranche of liquidity (Naf 39 mil) support until her government “has acted with enough decisiveness to structurally repair the problems at the airport.” This letter, the MP continued, reveals that Knops has no respect whatsoever for the PM and her government, telling the PM that trust and confidence in her and her government is damaged, clearly calling the PM a liar by not keeping promises and describing her government as indecisive and always late.
The MP said the Prime Minister and Knops deserve each other since both are disingenuous in their intentions and continue to insult the intelligence of the people. “I have warned this government on multiple occasions to stop playing this dangerous cat and mouse game with the Dutch. Today you are saying one thing, tomorrow you are saying something else. This failed government has not stood on its convictions for anything because they simply do not have any. It has been one lie after the next, playing with words as if we are all too dense to recognize the game,” Emmanuel said.
He said once Knops realized that the PM and her government were stalling and sending mixed signals, it gave him, BZK, Schiphol and the World Bank an opening to exploit a weak, indecisive government. “Only weak people act the way St. Maarten government has been acting. Knops is being the usual bully with weak people. Although the airport has nothing to do with liquidity support, he knew that he could probably get away with blackmailing St. Maarten again because he knows who he is dealing with. He boldly told the PM in his letter that she cannot keep promises. What does that tell you?’ The MP said.
He further explained that Knops have lied to the First Chamber of the Dutch Government as well as to the government of St. Maarten when he said “agreement is agreement” and once St. Maarten signs the implementation agenda for reforms outlined in the Country Packages, the fifth trance of liquidity will be released. Furthermore, Knops made the Parliament of St. Maarten send him a letter in which it (not Emmanuel) re-confirmed that he has the support for the trajectory of the COHO. Knops said the letter was enough and liquidity would be released.
“Now however, he realized that Schiphol wasn’t getting what it wanted from the airport holding board, so he is now using that as an excuse to withhold liquidity support, doesn’t matter that one has nothing to do with the other. Because of St. Maarten’s game playing, he is doing exactly what he has accused St. Maarten of doing; not sticking to agreements. In the process he has shown to have no integrity whatsoever,” Emmanuel said.
In response, the MP said, the Prime Minister and her government did what they always do; they look for an excuse for a situation they created or a convenient scapegoat. “This time the scapegoat is Chairman of the airport holding board Dexter Doncher who they suspended for 3 months, to rush off the agreement with Schiphol while their puppet CEO is back in place. But I assure you, if that agreement is finalized with some of the ridiculous demands Schiphol was making and Doncher was protesting against, we will have a problem in this country.”
“The government knows full well that it wanted the CEO fired since last November. The government knows full well that Doncher and the holding board were told to proceed. Today now you want to make him the scapegoat because Knops and the Dutch found a new way to blackmail you over money. This is the same Prime Minister who said in Parliament that we are not flat on our backs for sure when it comes to liquidity, only to have the Minister of Finance tell us that we will be out of money at the end of the month,” Emmanuel said.
He continued: “The question should be asked what were the Prime Minister and her government doing while the process to dismiss the CEO was ongoing. They also wanted him gone. Were they not ensuring that all the T’s were crossed and I’s dotted? The Prime Minister promised Knops that all proper procedures and protocols related to proper corporate governance would be followed. So if she wants to blame Doncher for technicalities, then she too failed and should resign, don’t just hang the noose around Doncher’s neck.”
He said it is shameful that the Prime Minister of St. Maarten sat by in silence when the case was being laid out against the exorbitant costs of Schiphol appointees to the airport, over spending by the CEO and mis-treatment of the employees, but can now claim corporate governance infractions simply for political survival. “So no progress at PJIA doesn’t kick you into action, doesn’t prompt you to question Schiphol for a report on what they have done. Nothing. But today you chose the Dutch again over another St. Maartener and his family,” Emmanuel said.
Emmanuel said both Knops and Jacobs have no concern for the people of St. Maarten based on the actions of both, starting with income and benefit cuts, to present actions. He said Knops is fortunate that St. Maarten has a weak government to bring his obsession with the complete takeover of St. Maarten’s most strategic assets to fruition. And St. Maarten’s PM and government are now experts in selling out its people to appease the Dutch. “History will not be kind to you Prime Minister,” Emmanuel concluded.