US Board: Court ruling will stifle middle class, further Dutch plans



~ Says Alliance now facilitator of hardships ~

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The United St. Maarten (US) party expressed disappointment with the verdict of the Constitutional Court to uphold the three ordinances in connection with income and benefit cuts, despite the existence of laws that protect workers’ rights.

The party board is of the opinion that the court used convenient excuses and considerations to arrive at the underlying reason for its verdict: that it upheld the laws because St. Maarten needed liquidity support. Nothing should ever supersede the constitutional rights of the people. The verdict showed that the National Alliance led coalition government did not consider the far reaching consequences or research how the laws would affect the people. “But neither did the court. Nor did it address the trampling of workers’ rights which the three ordinances clearly do,” the US board said.

“This verdict further strengthens the Dutch agenda to financially weaken the country and stifle the little middle class that is left. It opens the door for the establishment of the COHO and the various entities, some financial in nature, that is scheduled to be setup on St. Maarten under the COHO. This is all being facilitated by the National Alliance led government,” the US board said.

“A burnt bridge that was not crossed” is how the board of the US party described the statement by the Constitutional Court that the St. Maarten and Dutch governments not lose sight of the “human dimensions” of enacting the three national ordinances in connection with income and benefit cuts. In other words, “the National Alliance government did not consider the far reaching consequences or research how the laws would affect the people. The National Alliance government now fully owns the setbacks and hardships many families and public servants are encountering,” the board said.

The board continued: “The acceptance without negotiation of the three laws that have not only stifled the growth of our middle class, but will ultimately set them back for a unspecified period of time, has yet to be complemented by an economic recovery plan to offset the cost of living that is shooting through the roof. At a time when countries around the world including the Netherlands were finding ways to maintain the livelihoods of their people and stimulate their economies the Jacobs cabinet was busy agreeing to counter-productive instructions and making decisions hoping to be rescued by the constitutional court.”

The US board stressed that the Jacobs norm, which represents a cap on the earning abilities of St. Maarten’s brightest and most talented people who manage to retain executive positions on at government owned companies, offers no incentives to graduating students, and those that have acquired experience in their fields of study.

According to State Secretary Raymond Knops, the board continues, St. Maarten lack the capacity to implement and or execute the country packages that Prime Minister Jacobs has signed on to. “It then begs the question, with limitations placed on the earning capacity of our people, how are we expected to address our capacity issues? Are we to assume that our capacity issues will be addressed and financed under the umbrella of COHO to circumvent the three laws accepted and imposed without negotiation and a defined time line?”

The US board also noted that the court somehow used the minimum wage to partly justify its ruling. With the court pointing out that at least the minimum wage wasn’t affected, it created a false impression that citizens are living a good life on the minimum wage. “The court’s considerations in arriving at its verdict were off-base and weren’t helped by the fact that there was a serious on lack of data to counter those considerations. Which means the government didn’t care enough to properly prepare its legal representatives,” the board said.

“We recall that the National Alliance from its origins of SPA/SPM days, had always championed itself as a fighter for the rights and livelihood of the middle class citizens of this country. How could this modern day NA stray so far from its history, its core beliefs and principles. The far reaching consequences of the decision by the National Alliance led coalition to accept and implement the so called 3 laws voted for by all the members of parliament except MP Christopher Emmanuel was never taken into consideration said the board,” the US board said.

The US board is of the opinion that all of the life changing agreements and or decisions made thus far by the Jacobs cabinet were void of the human dimension, because the only motivation given thus far by Honourable Prime Minister Jacobs is that “our backs were against the wall”. “Members of parliament who motivated their votes against the 3 laws presented, did so in an attempt to show solidarity with the people, only to turn around and vote in support of the motion that stripped civil servants and workers of government owned companies of their spending power, and benefits,” the US board said.

“The National Alliance who once championed themselves as the defenders of the middle class, have seemingly abandoned that position in the last year and a half and most recently passed it on to the constitutional court who in-turn passed it right back. How can our people ever place any level of confidence in the National Alliance again?” the US board concluded.