MP Emmanuel: Giving back money you Illegally took should not be celebrated

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“Proudly boasting that passing a law to put money back in the pockets of civil servants, after you illegally used another law to take the money in the first place, is a “shameful spin” to put on your biggest failure as a government,” said Independent MP Christophe Emmanuel on Monday after Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs “put lipstick on a pig” to once again fool the people of St. Maarten.

The MP was referring to Monday’s handling of the draft national ordinance amending the temporary national ordinance Covid-19 cuts in connection with the phased reduction of the Covid-19 cuts employment conditions for civil servants. The MP stressed that the Prime Minister went to Parliament with a game-plan to “spew the same nonsense” as she and her government has been doing ever since they made the lives of people harder by cutting income and benefits.

The Prime Minister, MP Emmanuel noted, clearly stated that the law was to legalize the passing of the original 12.5% law, facilitating the cuts to civil servants and workers semi-government entities. “That means you acknowledge that the laws as passed were illegal as I have always said. “Do not come now trying to fool the people with stories that you had no choice but to burden their lives further then, but ready to celebrate now for a phased roll back of the law. Of course you had to give the people their money back, you took it illegally,” MP Emmanuel stressed.

Legally, the MP said, it has not been made clear at all, the connection between this law and further prevention of civil servants, teachers etc not receiving what’s due to them. The PM and her government, MP Emmanuel continued, has manipulated the laws from day one, by passing them, acting in contravention of them and now trying to cover their illegal acts with this law. “Putting lipstick on a pig, but we can still see it’s a pig,” MP Emmanuel said.

“The government would have been much better served to admit they failed the people of St. Maarten. Your responsibility as a government is to improve the lives of your people, not to be their oppressor and make their lives harder. You have failed,” MP Emmanuel said. “Not to make light towards what abused people go through, but the government wants to abuse people, and expect us to love our abuser. The law once again is a clear self-indictment of the government’s utter failure,” he added.

MP Emmanuel continued to dismiss the PM’s statements that St. Maarten had its back against the wall and had no other choice due to government’s liquidity situation. “Which was what exactly? Answers were never provided to questions about our exact liquidity position, neither were answers provided about alternatives the government negotiated or tried to negotiate, other than a 12.5% cut.

“The PM’s statements were continually debunked by former State Secretary Raymond Knops who basically said St. Maarten didn’t really negotiate and the 12.5% idea came from Aruba. The PM”s credibility was totally destroyed when she and her government were called untrustworthy by the same State Secretary. Today the Prime Minister is still repeating the same story. Sorry, no. You took money of out of the pockets of civil servants and teachers, it is your responsibility to put it back. Do not expect me to celebrate your failures,” the MP concluded.