PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Documents from the Ministry of VROMI in the ongoing saga about government long lease land situated at Over The Bank, paints a contradictory picture than what was relayed to Parliament by Minister of VROMI Egbert Doran. In fact, the documents paints Doran as a liar.
Doran, on multiple occasions, told Parliament that information could not be found on the 50 plus persons who were granted land in long lease by former VROMI Minister Angel Myers. Doran stressed that nothing at all could be found anywhere in the government’s administration or from civil servants. On the floor of Parliament he even showed a piece of paper with handwriting and stated that is all that could be found.
As a result, Minister Doran proceeded to re-issue the same plots of land given to the 50 plus persons, this time to 25 people of his choosing, including family and close associates. When Parliament and the public chastised the Minister for this move, he proceeded to issue a public call for persons who had information and/or were awarded land to contact the VROMI Ministry. To date, the Minister has said he still cannot find information on these 50 plus persons.
However, documents directly from the Ministry of VROMI show that all advices, with DIV numbers, are available in the tracking system of government. Unless something drastically went wrong with the government’s system, they should still be there. The documents show the DIV number under which each advice was booked in, who handled the advices and when they were registered as booked in, as well as the name of the people who were awarded land.
To locate these advices, the Minister and his cabinet as well as VROMI personnel need only look for the DIV numbers in the government’s system. Whether this was done is as unclear as what kind of in-depth research, if any, was conducted to determine who was granted long lease land.
In the meantime, a majority in Parliament passed three motions against the Minister last week, instructing him to “pause” his handling of land for the 25 persons until a land policy is in place. Members from his own party voted in favor of the motions and against Minister Doran, reportedly causing a serious rift within the National Alliance.
Important to note is that Ardwell Irion, Minister of Finance on behalf of National Alliance, was complicit in this whole affair when he signed for the issuance of long-lease land in the area Over the Bank, to a relative of Doran. Irion was mandated by Doran by Ministerial Order of July 3, 2020, to issue land on a long-term lease if its issue would be a conflict of interest for Doran. Finance Minister Irion expressed his willingness to issue land on Doran’s behalf.