Emmanuel: Government actively trying to distract from the Ombudsman report



PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten –– “In a democracy, elected officials are accountable to the public they govern. As of late however, a worrying trend has emerged: The Minister of VROMI and the entire government, has made it a political tactic to attack any institution that makes that accountability possible, from the press to Parliament.”

Independent Member of Parliament Christophe Emmanuel on Wednesday said it is embarrassing, yet telling, that the Minister of VROMI is openly and blatantly trying to de-legitimatize, and disqualify the result of the systemic investigation conducted by the Ombudsman on the tendering process for garbage contracts. In the process, Emmanuel opined, the Minister wants to indirectly diminish the role of the Ombudsman as a high Council of State in the eyes of the public.

Emmanuel said ever since the Minister and the support he has in Parliament managed to get a meeting postponed in which a motion of no confidence was going to be tabled against him, he has used the summer recess of Parliament to attack everything and everyone that calls his accountability to the forefront. He has in effect, Emmanuel said, dismissed all the serious findings in the report that he should be ultimately accountable for, by trying to create false narratives. “Vilify everyone is the order of the day,” Emmanuel.

Unfortunately for the Minister, Emmanuel continued, his behavior, narcissism on full display, proves exactly why such a motion was drafted.

“One would think that having to answer for your actions or your decisions would make you think and act differently. But sometimes it just inspires people to defend more stridently what they already believe. Sometimes it motivates people to conform to the views of the small audience of supporters they feel they can manipulate. The latter is the situation currently on display daily by the Minister of VROMI, only this time he is trying to manipulate the views of the entire public,” MP Emmanuel said.

“Observing the show that the Minister is putting on, I cannot help but to recall the famous quote: ‘power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ When any person gain too much power or think they have unassailable power, they often are consumed by it and will do anything within their capabilities to keep said power. I want the people of St. Maarten to take a close look at how this Minister and this government once again are reacting to wrong-doing for which they are being held accountable. They feel like they are above respected codes of conduct and obligations,” the MP said.

He said the latest salvo from the Minister indicating that he would be seeking legal advice on how to deal with a Member of Parliament in relation to another issue, is another tactic of distraction being employed by the Minister. “It’s classic and predictable. Attack your political opponent with innuendos filled with sensation, with the hope it will take over the narrative and draw attention from the real issue in which you are the central figure,” Emmanuel said.

“Well there is no need for innuendo. If the Minister of VROMI feels that a current Member of Parliament did anything wrong, then the Minister should know where to take it. But how does that solve the Minister’ issue other than expose him as vindictive and nasty to the point of willing to tarnish others because he feels that the result of an investigation is a personal attack against him? It doesn’t. Nothing goes away,” the MP said.

He continued: “It is going on two years that I first raised the same questions asked by the Ombudsman. I first asked the questions when the haulers that bid complained about the process. I then asked the questions when reports surfaced on the calculations of the prices, I also asked when the public complained about how garbage was being collected. The same Minister when he had the opportunity to be truthful with the public did not seize upon that opportunity. By not doing so, he triggered the Ombudsman investigation who also could not obtain relevant information from the Minister of VROMI. His response to this is to attack the fact that he was exposed. Attack the Ombudsman, attack the media, attack MP’s, attack anyone who dare bring up the Ombudsman report.”

MP Emmanuel said that the National Alliance and its support in Parliament has now tied their future on a bandwagon of deceit and protecting their power at all cost. Emmanuel said the people of St. Maarten should be very worried about what they are seeing.

“They don’t even try to hide it any more. Political power is a unique danger because it’s essentially control over other people’s lives on a massive scale. The simple fact that we are public figures means that even our political statements, as much as our actions, have a lot of sway on the minds of those who look up to us. It is a scary thought that the current group of Ministers can so comfortably behave as if they are not accountable to a soul, because in their minds people will forget and they will get away with it. It is a shame that they who preach accountability onto others, cannot practice it upon themselves,” the MP concluded,