PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Independent Member of Parliament Christophe Emmanuel on Sunday evening said it has become evident that social media giant Facebook is the government of St. Maarten. Emmanuel drew this conclusion after two Ministers of the Council of Ministers spent more time on Facebook during Saturday night’s downpour than seeing to the people’s business at that moment or being proactive from before.
Emmanuel said that the weather system that caused havoc on Saturday into Sunday, was forecasted days prior to Saturday. As such, he said, the usual preparation should have been in place to mitigate flooding and risk to people’s lives and property.
“Instead, we have water trenches still overflowing with bush and small trees which results in blockages and rising of strong flowing water out of the trenches and into the street. The Great Bay channel was not opened until well into the downpour by which time something tragically could have happened. We saw what could happen when trenches aren’t taken care of and government approach these matters with a nonchalant attitude. Thankfully nothing tragic happened,” MP Emmanuel said.
He said during this time, the Minister of VROMI and Minister of VSA were on Facebook going back and forth with people. Emmanuel added that the Minister of VSA thought it was more important to announce to the public that if the tourist office budget had US $100,000 he would have given it to the Burna Boy show promoters to make it even bigger and to look out for what he called ‘Summer Fest 2023’.
“If you had an extra US $100,000 you should help the people who still have patchwork roofing or no roofing over their homes after years of failure. Or you give the Ambulance Department, Fire Department and Police Department personnel what they deserve. People out here are suffering and the Minister on Facebook talking about pet projects to get likes on Facebook, like that matters now,” the MP said.
He added that the Minister eventually realized he is actually a Minister with responsibilities towards workers, and issued a statement to employers asking them to let workers go home early. “But that official notice was issued at 11:00pm,” Emmanuel said.
“Perhaps the two Ministers were caught up in the hype of the popular show, because everything was done too late and thankfully again mishaps were avoided. The government was obviously not on the same page with Ministers sending out their own messages instead of a cohesive approach to the weather system. Disorganization just like they have in Parliament,” MP Emmanuel said.
He used the opportunity to remind the public that the so-called new coalition in Parliament has yet to present a governing accord to Parliament and the people of St. Maarten.
“Who is the majority support that the government claims to have? One big flip-flopping show on the floor of Parliament and they have yet to tell you who the new President of Parliament is, when a new Minister of TEATT will be placed and in fact who are the official 8 MPs needed for a majority supporting government are. What do you get instead? You get rogue and unorganized behavior like you saw on Facebook on Saturday night,” Emmanuel concluded.