DP delivers blistering criticism on governing program: “If you cannot convince them, confuse them”

POSTED: 07/27/15 8:07 PM

St. Maarten – Democratic Party MP Sarah Wescot-Williams delivered blistering criticism of the governing program the Council of Ministers sent to the parliament a week and a half ago. The program shows “an inadequate end unprepared government, “contradictions are blaring” and the document is “poorly edited’ are some of the points Wescot-Williams makes in het analysis.

The Democratic Party “recognizes some initiatives as its own” while others “fit the priorities the DP has established for itself.”

As an example of “blaring contradictions,” the opposition-MP refers to remarks about good governance and integrity. “Is government yet to decide on these reports – according to page 5 – or is government set to carry them out as page 6 would indicate?”

Wescot-Williams also fell over a paragraph about financial discipline and management that she found most puzzling of all: “High level of social protection, welfare for all, stable economic development, but the budget will lay down the direction of economic policy. Can someone explain this?”

The MP furthermore criticizes the “poorly edited program. “I don’t know if this was strategy or a total disrespect for the readers of this program, or if someone dropped the ball. I had expected a more thorough paper. But I guess that the adage if you can’t convince them, confuse them seems to have been the leading thought.”

There are also contradictions in the view on government-owned companies, Wescot-Williams points out. “Many government entities are by law the responsibility of a particular minister. How does this jive with all responsibilities being put on the table of the Council of Ministers? Does the approval of the budgets of all entities rest with the Minister of Finance? Is this not a contradiction?”

The adopt-a-school program (described as a win-win situation in the governing program – ed.) is also beyond Wescot-Williams.

Then there is the remark about building a modern medical facility, a mental health facility “and may more throughout the program.” Wescot-Williams wonders: “How, is anybody’s guess. Where the resources will come from is a mystery.”

The MP described the governing program as “a collection of (ongoing ministerial projects, parliamentary wishes and individual pet projects, totally void of connecting the dots and a bigger picture.”

Tax incentives are ‘a buzz word” in the program, the MP notes, but: “The government does not know yet what kind of tax system we will have. That is to be studied.”

Wescot-Williams suggests that the government takes a look at recommendations from the International Monetary Fund and the Central Bank about the labor market and government policies. “And what are the government’s plans with the monetary union? The governing program had two complete opposing views.”

The rent-a-cop concept the governing program presents does not sit well with Wescot-Williams either. “In the government’s opinion this will yield income and allow government to attract more policemen. Excuse me? This statement follows on the heels of the government’s own admission of the challenges it faces with recruiting officers and with remunerating them adequately.”

That the government wants to draft a sustainable development plan for the Emilio Wilson Estate must have triggered some laughs at the DP. Says Wescot-Williams: “Really, after the property has been leased out? I hope this program is tabled for debate in parliament soon but I don’t hold my breath.”

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