PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — In a letter to the Central Bank member of parliament Sarah Wescot Williams questions: “How realistic are these motions in the view of the CBCS?” .
“I did this via the Minister of Finance, Mr. Ardwell Irion, just to make sure that the bank does not deny me a response, based on formalities. It is now more than 3 weeks since 2 motions were tabled in parliament regarding the Mullet Bay property. Only one got sufficient votes to pass and that particular one requests of the minister of finance to instruct the CBCS to halt any action regarding mullet bay until at least June and await the outcome of the Mullet Bay parliamentary inquiry, which the parliament had decided on since November 5, 2019.”
The goal of that inquiry, according to the official resolution is “to obtain insight into the ownership of the Mullet Bay area and the current volatile (legal) position that exists between the owner, Government and the citizens. Furthermore this parliamentary inquiry serves to assess the need for Parliament and Government to intervene in every feasible way possible to protect one of its most precious coastal and inland waterways in the national interest of the country as well as to explore possibilities how best it can be used in the interest of the people from an economic, environmental, heritage and legal perspective”.
In the meantime, the dynamics have changed drastically and the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten has taken a leading role in the process of deciding what becomes of the Mullet Bay property, MP Wescot stated in her release.
The parliamentary Motion no. 2 of January 20, 2023 instructs the minister of finance to delay the approval of any potential sale until at least June 2023, when the inquiry is supposed to be completed. “It would appear that given where things stand currently, many of the questions posed in the inquiry proposal of 2019 have become redundant”.
The most important tool the government has in its hands right now is to establish a development plan for the entire area as mentioned in the defeated motion of the same date the MP continued, “and I hope and pray that the government will still urgently follow this route, regardless of what negotiations are taking place or will take place with the CBCS”.
Regardless of which route is taken, even if that route is expropriation as per the defeated motion, the conditions of a development plan and proof of finances are paramount and a legal prerequisite. “Other than is sometimes portrayed, our laws are quite rigid, and luckily so, when it comes to expropriating”, MP Wescot stated.
With the CBCS having the reigns in the matter of Mullet Bay, it therefore behooves the government and parliament to at least get insight into what the state of affairs is. In my view, if the sale and/or development is to be stalled, it should be done in order to allow the government the opportunity to decide the future of the Mullet Bay area development, something that it seems the government has little interest in doing.
“I very much doubt that there has even been any follow up to the motion of January 20th 2023, to delay ‘any potential sale’ and I therefore hope that the CBCS will answer my following questions.”
Has the government of St. Maarten requested that the sale of Mullet Bay be put on hold as per the parliamentary motion?
If so, what is the Bank’s position on the instruction to delay a potential sale of Mullet Bay until at least June 2023?
What is the current status of the sale and/or development of Mullet Bay?
What exactly is the Bank offering for sale or development? Is there a prospectus?
Is there a cadastral certificate of the offering by the Bank? Please provide such.
Is the Mullet Bay beach included?
Is the Bank inclined to enter into negotiations with the government of St. Maarten regarding expropriation of the property in question? If not, why not?
Is the Bank inclined to hold off on the sale or development of the Mullet Bay property until a development plan is developed for the area in question? If not, why not?
In conclusion, I think the parliamentary inquiry is not only a station passé, but awaiting its outcome without knowing what is taking place behind the scenes, we will again miss out.