Thursday, July 02, 2020

I was pleasantly surprised and extremely pleased to hear the Honorable Prime Minister declare during the Council of Ministers Press Briefing on June 17, 2020, that her Government is living up to the agreements made by the Marlin-Romeo Government. The PM’s exact words were: “Government has done everything,

and I mean everything, to live up to conditions set on us by previous agreements set by previous governments, we have maintained those agreements”.

For the past eight months I have been waiting for the Jacobs Government to chart a new direction for Sint Maarten because the past opposition in Parliament, she was very much the agreements that the Marlin-Romeo Government had reached with the Dutch and the World Bank. Yet to date, the PM still refers to living up to all the agreements made by the former Government which she and her Party at that time considered bad decisions that were aimed at selling Sint Maarten out to the Dutch. I also wonder if the Coalition also supports the PM in her decision to maintain the agreements signed by the former Government?

The Marlin-Romeo Government was branded as the worst Government in Sint Maarten history. The NA/USP/Mercelina/Brownbill opposition in Parliament, led by then MP Jacobs, categorically refused to lend any support to the Marlin-Romeo Government to carry out these agreements. The agreements that needed to be made with the World Bank in order to release funds for the airport were blocked. Laws pertaining to money laundering and anti-terrorism that would keep Sint Maarten from being blacklisted on the international market were stagnated. Conditions set by the Dutch regarding, for example, the reduction of the salary of Members of Parliament were considered by the opposition as allowing the Dutch to interfere in Sint Maarten’s internal affairs. The Marlin-Romeo Government was also highly accused of not being transparent and of withholding documents and information from Parliament.

Yet shortly after taking office, the Jacobs Government does the same things that it accused the Marlin-Romeo Government of doing. The Prime Minister flies off immediately to Washington to sign the agreement with the World Bank and the Minister of Justice heads to Antigua to try to avert Sint Maarten from being blacklisted. The Jacobs Government and the NA/USP coalition agrees for the salaries of members of Parliament and civil servants to be reduced. It is ironic to see that Members of Parliament who were once intensely opposed to the Dutch dictating what their salaries should be,end up themselves presenting a motion to cut their own salaries so that they could comply with the conditions stipulated by the Dutch.

As far as the issue of transparency is concerned, the Jacobs Cabinet collated the very same documents that had already been sent by the Marlin-Romeo Government to Parliament, in two binders and resent them to Parliament. Unfortunately, this transparency was not long-lived as today, Parliamentarians and members of the Coalition publicly complain that the Jacobs Government is no longer transparent.

So why would former Members of Parliament, who are now Ministers themselves, accuse the past Government of accepting the conditions set forth by the Dutch and of signing agreements with the Dutch to sell out Sint Maarten, when they are now doing the exact same things that they were opposing. This causes one to think that it was not that the Marlin-Romeo Government was not doing a good job but rather,it was merely about bringing down the Government in order to usurp the power themselves.

In my opinion, one should not criticize something and then, when given the opportunity to improve it or change it, do the exact same thing. In other words, how can PM Jacobs, vehemently oppose the conditions and agreements of the Marlin-Romeo Government while she was a Member of Parliament but now being Prime Minister she turns around and does everything possible to live up to and maintain the conditions and agreements that were established by the previous government. This tells me that the Marlin-Romeo Government was not that bad after all.

Wycliffe Smith

Leader of the SMCP

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