Emmanuel: VROMI Minister must address leaked document of Over The Bank land

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PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Independent MP Christophe Emmanuel on Thursday said it is disappointing, but still very typical, that Minister of VROMI Egbert Doran has not publicly addressed leaked documents that appear to contradict everything he has been telling Parliament and the public about long lease land at the area known as Over The Bank.

Earlier this week a media outlet published what appears to be an authentic list of the 50 or so persons who were initially granted a parcel of land in long lease at Over the Bank. The list contains the names of the persons, the civil servants who worked on the documents and the registration numbers in the government system.

This list, if authentic, is the same list that Minister Doran said did not exist or he could not find. He made these claims on the floor of Parliament, in the Council of Ministers Press Briefing and in several media interviews. The Minister told Parliament that the only thing he had were pieces of paper with hand written notes on them.

“And this is why the Minister said he awarded the same parcels of land that was initially given out to the 50 persons, to a brand new group of more than 20 people. He said there is nothing on file indicating anything was given to anyone previously. Now we have this document circulating that looks like it came from the government registration system complete with all the names, which makes the Minister look like a liar,” MP Emmanuel said.

He continued: “How is it possible that such a document makes it to the public domain days ago and the Minister has not addressed it? The question is simple; is the document in circulation authentic? Yes or no? It can easily be verified by cross-checking the DIV numbers in the system. Even the Minister’s cabinet has access. Coming off of three motions passed against him condemning the way he handled this Over The Bank fiasco, you would think the Minister would do better. He must address the leaked document.”

MP Emmanuel added that the Minister should also provide an update on his public call for persons who might have been granted land to come forward with documentation.

“Has anyone come forward? If yes how many? And what were they told about their land? More importantly, did the Minister cross reference their documents with the names and registration numbers on the documents now in circulation? And can the Minister say if anyone has initiated a court case against government in this whole affair? Lastly, can the Minister produce any Council of Ministers decision on the Over The Bank land in particular for the 50 or more group of people. There are many questions, but there is nothing but silence coming from the government, as usual,” MP Emmanuel said.

Since some media houses apparently do not want to follow-up on what others have published, the MP said, “I am forwarding the circulated document to all media. Perhaps the media can also ask the questions as the so called “fourth estate” in this country,” the MP concluded.