~ Already treating Parliament as an after-thought ~
PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Independent Member of Parliament Christophe Emmanuel on Tuesday said he will not allow the people of St. Maarten to be insulted by new State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen by sitting in a token meeting of 30 minutes to discuss Van Huffelen’s perspective of equality and other pressing matters such as COHO. “I will not waste my time and accept such an insult, I will not sit in that meeting,” MP Emmanuel said.
The MP explained that the Parliament of St. Maarten, more specifically the faction leaders in Parliament, has only been afforded 30 minutes to meet with the State Secretary on Friday upcoming, a meeting with five agenda points and seven faction leaders. He said the State Secretary and the Dutch government is so confident in the COHO which was agreed upon by the UP-National Alliance Government, that they are already treating the Parliament of St. Maarten as an after-thought.
“There are 15 members of Parliament and only 7 faction leaders are allowed to meet. That is the first insult. Then you include a subject such as the COHO and its implications for the country and we are granted just 30 minutes to discuss such a big issue? No sorry, I will not let my people be insulted with such a condescending effort by someone who has never been to St. Maarten but will return to the Netherlands to proudly report she has met with the people and Parliament of St. Maarten,” the MP said.
The MP said Van Huffelen’s casual snub of the Parliament of St. Maarten sends a clear message about what she and the Dutch government think of the Parliament and affirms her recognition that the COHO, agreed to by the UP-National Alliance Government, is basically re-placing the Parliament of St. Maarten.
“The State Secretary is already treating the Parliament of St. Maarten as a courtesy she does not have to respect. With the eventual establishment of the COHO and its far reaching powers along with its control over the budget of the country, through the CFT, the Parliament has been rendered as a rubber stamp and the Dutch know this. Why would they respect Parliament if the Prime Minister has agreed to give away and/or restrict Parliament’s power and responsibilities to the COHO?” the MP asked
He added that he will continue to be open and vocal and fulfill his duties as an MP “come hell or high water, COHO or not” and will not be made a puppet or a powerless symbolic piece in an institution to which the people of St. Maarten elected him to defend their rights.