Bewilderment in DP about appointment informateurs

POSTED: 09/30/14 12:15 AM

St. Maarten – Democratic Party leader Sarah Wescot-Williams used air quotes yesterday afternoon to express her bewilderment about Governor Holiday’s decision to appoint two informateurs on  Thursday, after UP-leader Theo Heyliger’s presentation of a coalition-agreement signed by eight elected members of the new parliament.

When the DP, together with the National Alliance and the United St. Maarten party presented a declaration to the governor immediately after the August 29 elections, the governor appointed a formateur.

The task of a formateur is to put together a government after a majority has declared itself prepared to take part, an informateur explores all options for the composition of a new government. The two informateurs, Marcel Gumbs and Joe Richardson are therefore expected to approach all parties to explore their willingness to take part in a new government. Neither William Marlin, nor Sarah Wescot-Williams had been approached up to yesterday afternoon

“Let us hear what the questions of the informateurs will be,” Wescot-Williams said yesterday at a press conference in Holland House. “I am open to talk to anyone, but there is a document signed by eight seats. What is the difference in the governor’s mind or in the mind of the UP party?”

Wescot-Williams left it at that and evaded answers to questions about the Democratic Party’s willingness to participate in a new government, The informateurs may be looking for broader support for the new cabinet, given the volatile political situation a one-seat majority in parliament would create.

“We were so close to the end of the process that we were part of a prayer-session last week,” Wescot-Williams said. Only after that session last week Tuesday did Cornelius de Weever, the second-highest vote getter on the DP-list, tell his party leader that he had had a change of heart and that he wanted to be a Member of Parliament and no longer a minister.

“That was a fair request,” Wescot-Williams said, “but it forced us to look at the ministerial positions again. She said that from the beginning, De Weever had indicated that he wanted to continue as a minister.

That the counterpart-policy was a breaking point for De Weever had surprised Wescot-Williams, because the Council of Minister approved the policy underpinning the legislation that was approved already in 2009, in a meeting on August 12. It is currently at the Council of Advice for scrutiny. “It is not an issue,” the party leader said. “From our point of view the counterpart topic is a moot point. The larger issue is the gap between demand and supply in the labor market. That is an ongoing concern and we look at it from a training perspective.”

Wescot-Williams said that she had not received an explanation from De Weever for his reasons to sign a coalition-agreement with the UP. She criticized the attitude of elected members of parliament that feel they are entitled to appoint ministers. “Theoretically I could then appoint my 93-year old mother as a minister,” she said. “But ministers cannot sit there as a puppet for a Member of Parliament; they have their own responsibilities.”

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