Grisha to Min Justice: respect Parliament’s role and take your responsibility

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PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — On Thursday, MP Grisha Heyliger Marten urged Minister of Justice Anna Richardson to desist from trying to downplay the importance of Parliament and from speaking in condescending tone and owning up to her administration’s failures to carry out tasks as promised.

The MP was responding to Richardson’s comments that people are playing with the feelings of justice workers in relation to their legal status and compensation, which she made during Wednesday’s LIVE Press Briefing. Heyliger-Marten expressed displeasure that Minister Richardson, would charge others with manipulating the feelings of justice employees.

“It is sad and disingenuous of the Minister to reject a motion of Parliament as something trivial and as a directive she does not require to carry out her duties. The role of the parliament is to supervise the executive branch and make sure it upholds its duties to the people of St. Maarten. Motions with resolutions and deadlines are one tool at Parliament’s disposal to do this.

Heyliger-Marten went on to say that the Minister herself had stated numerous times that the procedure would be finished by the end of 2022 and that payment would be issued no later than January 1, 2023.

“The Minister is the one who mentioned it in news conferences, in front of Parliament, and in writing. If you are unable to get it done, then say so. If you don’t communicate, then deadlines will come and go and you would have failed the justice workers.”
Adding that the Minister’s response was disrespectful, Heyliger-Marten reminded the Minister that she does not operate in isolation on her own island.

“After I tabled the motion, the justice workers felt more assured. They sat back and waited, feeling as though Parliament finally had their back. The goal of the motion was to reassure government employees that both branches of government are taking the issue serious and to support the Minister with carrying out her tasks. Contrary to what the Minister is stating now, the motion was not political finger-pointing and blaming. That’s why it’s very regrettable that the Minister is now disregarding the justice employees’ patience and dismissing the role and functioning of Parliament, Heyliger-Marten stated.

“While engaging in chest pounding, deflecting, and talking about “me-me-me”, the Minister should acknowledge that she either misinformed Parliament or is simply incompetent to carry out what she promised to do. Or both.

The only priority of the justice workers, and for sure of this MP, is to have the process concluded. If you know my history then you know I bleed blue. I grew up in a police home. My first home was a police home in Saunders. Now that I am in a position to fight for justice workers and use what’s available to me as an MP to do so, I am duty-bound to do so.

If it takes a hundred motions, I will table them and the Minister will have to deal with them all,” the MP concluded.