PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten–“It is crystal clear, that it is not the appointed council of Ministers of Sint Maarten that are the ones running Sint Maarten. It is not as if I had any doubts before, because this is what I have been saying all along. But what we see now is that the State Secretary of Home Affairs Knops, is confirming this to the people of Sint Maarten with his latest press release,” says Member of Parliament Christopher Emmanuel.
Member of Parliament Emmanuel wants to know the following:
Do the people of Sint Maarten deserve such a weak Government as the Leona Romeo-Marlin Cabinet, which has proven that the only thing that this cabinet is 100% good at, is betraying the people and selling out Sint Maarten?
Did Leona Romeo-Marlin give Mr. Knops such an entitlement, allowing him to be able to be so deeply involved in the day to day running of this Caribbean part of the Kingdom, as opposed to making it clear to him, that despite working together, he has to stay in his lane and respect the Government and Parliament of Sint Maarten.
Does the State Secretary know, that in June of 2000, the people of Sint Maarten voted to have an autonomous status within the Dutch Kingdom, which now consists of Holland, Curaçao and Aruba, and regardless to the fact that we are many times smaller in size, our positions in the Kingdom are equal?
Is the Leona Romeo-Marlin Cabinet telling the people of Sint Maarten to expect that this type of intervention is the way forward, due to the fact that Sint Maarten has an incapable Council of Ministers sitting in the Government Administration Building, on appointed positions that are out of their league? Have they as a result decided that, in order for them to appear successful, they would allow Holland to run the show and take what they want, while they pretend to be working, whereas all the while they’re only hiding in the background?
How much power does the Parliament and this Government of Sint Maarten have in regards to matters on Sint Maarten, and is the Leona Romeo-Marlin Cabinet planning to allow Knops to continue in this manner? As much as this may be beneficial for them, the Ministers, it is not beneficial for the people of Sint Maarten.
Where and when will the line be drawn as far as this State Secretary is concerned?
Member of Parliament Emmanuel is reacting to an article from Knops published in the press, ordering the Parliament of Sint Maarten to “take an urgent stand on the Dutch Government’s offer to assist the Princess Juliana International Airport with $100 million”.
MP Emmanuel went on to say that the Dutch State Secretary, who seems to be testing the waters more and more each time, in order to see how much he can get away with, went on to state that “The motions of no-confidence against St. Maarten Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin and Minister Stuart Johnson are holding hostage much-needed progress in this area. We are in a sort of status quo, and we cannot move forward with our offer that is on the table as long as there is no clarity as to the support in the Sint Maarten Parliament for the government in power.”
MP Emmanuel wants the people of Sint Maarten to know, that Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin, and by extension the Government of Sint Maarten, told the people of Sint Maarten on January 9th, 2019, that the Council of Ministers had accepted the same support that Knops is referring to.
State Secretary Knops himself, as was reported on January 10th, 2019, was quoted as saying that “The government of St. Maarten has made an important decision on financing the reconstruction of the Princess Juliana International Airport.”
MP Emmanuel is therefore asking the Prime Minister to tell the people of Sint Maarten the truth about what exactly took place, and if what she and Knops reported was false, since the State Secretary is now stating that the progress to a deal that was supposedly signed, sealed and delivered, is so-called being held back because of “xyz”.
MP Emmanuel wants to know if, added to the conditions that the Dutch openly attached to the loan to the Airport, there were other conditions that the Prime Minister agreed to with Mr. Knops that were not published then, but are now coming to light. Like for instance, the money will only be granted if this present government remains in office. Are the conditions linked to the Leona Romeo-Marlin Cabinet? The people need to know.
“These disrespectful actions of the State Secretary are attributed to the fact that Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin and her colleague ministers, due to their obvious inabilities, instantly bow without debate to every demand that has come out of The Hague so far, and therefore the perception has now been created that everyone on Sint Maarten is blinded to the blackmail type tactics that are being played out,” said the MP.
The MP says he is gravely disappointed in the local Government of Sint Maarten and said that he considers the remarks of State Secretary Knops nothing more than scare tactics and bully posturing, as he seems to want to do everything that is within his power to hold on to this government, as this government has proven to be willing to do anything, including selling out Sint Maarten, in order to stay in power.
“Truth be told, Sint Maarten is facing many issues since the passing of the storms, which were natural disasters. But in the same breath, I must say that the Leona Romeo-Marlin Cabinet has been a man-made disaster for Sint Maarten as well, and has left the people of this country stranded and in a very undesirable position up to this date. All this while being aided and abetted by those who play the game of “loving” and “assisting” our people, all the while using the opportunity to plot and plan for their great positions on our “Rock” of Sun, Sea and Sand as promised by the Sint Maarten Government.
The MP mentioned that we are four months away from the second hurricane season since the storms of 2017, and to this date the people of Sint Maarten are yet to see the “hiding places” (hurricane shelters), that this same Mr. Knops misled the press in The Netherlands about before the 2018 hurricane season, when he falsely stated that there were enough Shelters on Sint Maarten in the event of a storm.
“It’s an insult to the intelligence of the people of Sint Maarten for the State Secretary to remotely suggest that the two motions tabled by the opposition is holding up the airport’s progress. Are these recently tabled motions also keeping back the construction of roofs for the hundreds of people that are seeking assistance for almost 2 years now? Are these motions also holding up a clear and decisive plan for the landfill and the delivering of the long overdue budget? I definitely know that this is not the case,” said the MP.
MP Emmanuel said that he wants to know what the State Secretary based his statement on. When did he receive the power to tell Parliament to hurry up and take a stand, while Parliament never had a discussion with him?
The MP also sent a clear message, telling the State Secretary that not because Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin and her colleague Ministers tremble to his words and bow to his requests, everyone on Sint Maarten feels the same way. There is no justifiable reason for this, so don’t expect it from our dignified people.
It is high time that the blackmail type tactics in the name of “Aid” stop, and it is also high time that the Government of Sint Maarten start seeking other solutions to the problems plaguing this beautiful “Rock” that we call home, in order to gain some form of respect from the people.
Member of Parliament Christopher Emmanuel concluded by suggesting that without delay, both the Airport and the Harbor have meetings with APS and SZV in order to come up with an investment loan agreement, similar to what was done with SZV and the Harbor over Zebec.
Emmanuel believes the $100 million is another bait and catch with far reaching consequences, as it is known that the Airport needs more than the $100 million.
“What this will do, is simply put the airport in a long-term state of begging, which of course will be very convenient for certain parties,” said the MP.
Proverbs 22-7 says: “Just as the Rich rule over the Poor, the Borrower is a Slave to the Lender.”