Committee for action plan on integrity reports: Parliament calls on governor not to execute instruction

POSTED: 10/23/14 7:33 PM

St. Maarten – The Parliament passed a motion yesterday that calls on governor Drs. Eugène Holiday “not to yield to the measure of instruction formulated by the Dutch government” and to instruct the government to establish a committee that will “study, evaluate and recommend” an action plan based on the findings of three integrity reports that are currently on the table.

With this motion, the Parliament sent a message to The Hague that it will not stand for interference in its internal affairs. Last week Friday, the Kingdom Council of Ministers instructed Governor Holiday to conduct additional screening of candidate ministers – a measure widely thought to be aimed at United People’s party leader Theo Heyliger. The parameters of this additional screening are up to this date unclear, though Kingdom Relations Minister Ronald Plasterk has said that he will send “Dutch experts” to the island to deal with the matter.

National Alliance MP Christopher Emmanuel, who made waves on Monday when he said in Parliament that he had been offered $80,000 in 2010, and – in 2014 – first $400,000 and then $2 million to go independent, again accused UP-leader Heyliger of corruption with references to statements made by former Island Council member Julian Rollocks and Gracita Arrindell going back to December 2005.

All this did not impress Heyliger, who made a balanced 10-minute address. He referred to the motion the Parliament in Curacao passed on Tuesday – aimed at sidelining the governor in the appointment-process of cabinet-members –  and warned that “a wave of instructions” if about to rain down on St. Maarten from The Hague.

Heyliger repeated his call for an invitation to the Parliaments of Curacao and Aruba to come to St. Maarten “to make sure we have a joint position.” The UP-leader furthermore pointed out – again – that St. Maarten already has a screening process.

He criticized the Dutch government for the way it deals with St. Maarten. “This has been going on for more than thirty years. A little bit of poison added every day. They have taken over justice and finance and now they want to take over the government.”

Heyliger referred to protests going on in Hong Kong where citizens protest against the Chinese government that wants to determine the makeup of the Hong Kong government.

He also emphatically stated that he has not bought anybody. “I have never met with any sitting Member of Parliament about money or about moving for money. I have not been asked and I have never asked,” he said. “It is terrible to hear that Cornelius de Weever and Leona Marlin are being accused of selling out, it is ridiculous. Now these stories are living a life beyond St. Maarten and they are used to break the country.”

Heyliger implied that he does not have to become the next prime minister of St. Maarten at all cost. “I do not need to sit in any chair that is appointed, but I will sit in the chair I have been elected to occupy,” he said.

UP faction-leader Franklin Meyers noted that it is “an illusion to say that we are Dutch. We are St. Maarteners and we are going to determine our destiny.” Meyers called on Parliament to send a message of “unity, resolve and strength.”

Then he did something J.F. Kennedy did during his visit to Berlin (June 26, 1963 – “Ich bin ein Berliner”): “We are all Theo Heyliger. Today there comes a measure for me, tomorrow there is one for you. This is the second instruction. They have started and they are not going to stop.”

National Alliance faction leader William Marlin immediately responded to Meyers: “I am not Theo Heyliger – not yesterday, not today and not tomorrow.”

Marlin repeated his stance that the instruction to the governor to tighten the screening of candidate-ministers is premature. “We have a screening for our ministers. It worked in the past and it is still working. I repeat my question of Monday: is this a motion of no confidence against the governor?”

 

 

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