Demand for report about Bureau Telecommunication and Post: BTP-statement exasperates MP Sarah Wescot-Williams

POSTED: 01/22/15 11:12 PM

St. Maarten – Democratic Party MP Sarah Wescot-Williams has reacted rather exasperated at the press release the Bureau Telecommunication and Post (BTP) sent to the media just before the weekend. In the release, the BTP-board denies fraud-allegations and claims that the responsible minister (the now departed Ted Richardson) has failed to provide integrity-researchers with the appropriate information, even though this information is available.

“Events in rapid succession are demanding Parliament’s attention,” Wescot-Williams writes in a press release, “and government is called to respond with equal urgency.”

The DP-MP notes that the BTP has been created by law to execute a public task and that it is considered an independent organization. “The only interference by government or a minister is what is afforded the minister in the law. At least that is how it is supposed to be.”

Wescot-Williams notes that the minister is politically responsible for the BTP towards the parliament. “Yet, BTP comes out swinging at government and makes it abundantly clear that it does so with the blessings of the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication.”

While Minister Claret Connor apparently backs the BTP, Wescot-Williams notes that Finance Minister Martin Hassink has in the past “not concealed his concern with respect to this organization, because it is significant for the country’s budget – and not only the minister of finance. Now the government (read the minister of finance) is publicly being admonished by the BTP to make information public to stem the flow of allegations of wrongdoings?”

Wescot-Williams wonders why the two ministers – Connor and Hassink – could not have worked together on this issue internally. “The way BTP has sought to defend its purchase of a building in Philipsburg truly leaves the minister of finance no other choice but to make public the report to which BTP refers in its statement. It also leaves the minister of finance no choice but to explain to Parliament and to the people of St. Maarten how the hierarchy structure of the BTP functions. I eagerly await the finance minister’s reaction to this sudden outburst of the BTP. And maybe something from his colleague-minister as well?”

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