PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Independent Member of Parliament Christophe Emmanuel wants government to provide answers and clear-up rumors concerning what he termed as disturbing incidents from this weekend. The island was clamoring on Saturday over news that Minister of Health Omar Ottley and President of Parliament MP Rolando Brison either organized or permitted a private party at Lotus Night Club in contravention to the Ministerial Regulation (MR).
According to witness reports, police were dispatched to Lotus Night Club on Friday night to ensure that the club closed its operations in accordance to the recently passed Ministerial Regulation which mandates closure at 11:00pm. Reports indicate that the police got into a discussion or altercation with MP Brison, and Minister Ottley reportedly gave the permission to let the club stay open until 2:00am or later to host players and officials of the Los Angeles Lakers.
There were apparently other political figures present including members of the UP Party. MP Brison also did not travel to Bonaire to attend the IPKO sessions after confirming he would be attending. He has not provided an explanation for his absence from IPKO. Additionally, the proprietor of Lotus Night Club posted on Facebook that the club would be closed for private events this weekend, which basically confirmed the gathering at the establishment after the stipulated closing time.
MP Emmanuel said it is incomprehensible that Minister Ottley, in the midst of what the island is going through, would undermine his credibility by allowing and being present at an event after the operational hour stipulated by his own decree, just to rub shoulders with famous people. As such, MP Emmanuel said it behooves Minister Ottley, MP Brison and the Minister of Justice Anna Richardson to explain what happened.
“Why is the President of Parliament not in Bonaire for IPKO? Were Minister Ottley and MP Brison at a private party at Lotus on Friday after 11pm? Did Minister Ottley or MP Brison allow a private party to continue at Lotus against the law? Can every club owner also pull this trick after 11pm and tell people not to go home, the event is private? Will Lotus or the event organizer be fined? Who actually organized the private party? Did the government of St. Maarten contribute anything financially for this event or any related event for persons associated with the Laker organization?
“The Minister of VSA and MP Brison should clearly understand that they cannot expect to preach protocols through one side of their mouth, but decide to throw caution to the wind and go party as if there are no regulations. Lead by example if you want people to respect the law and current COVID protocols. I hope the explanation comes sooner rather than later,” MP Emmanuel said.