Marlin accuses Wescot-Williams of hiding governor’s letter: “This is fraud by tampering with the democratic process”POSTED: 05/28/13 1:13 PM
St. Maarten – The 2014 election campaign started yesterday afternoon with a press conference by outgoing vice Prime Minister William Marlin who accused Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams of “fraud by tampering with the democratic process.” Before the press conference was over, newspapers received a press release from Wescot-Williams in which she countered the allegations.
Marlin made a letter from Governor Drs. Eugène Holiday to Wescot-Williams, dated May 16, the focus of his attack, accusing the Prime Minister of hiding this letter from the Council of Ministers. But the Pm stated in her press release that the letter “was cc’d to the Council of Ministers by the governor himself, as all letters to the Council of Ministers are.”
Marlin however maintained that up to yesterday the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers, Cassandra Janssen was unaware of the letter’s existence.
“Political developments have taken a new twist with this letter. The public was misinformed to suit political agendas,” Marlin said. “The Prime Minister misused her position to block a decision by the Council of Ministers to dissolve the parliament.”
According to Wescot-Williams, Marlin requested a copy of the letter from the Council of Minister’s secretary general last Friday. The PM turned down the request, saying the letter would be on the agenda of the next council-meeting. Then, according to the PM, Marlin obtained a copy from the governor’s cabinet. “By that same evening – it is alleged – the letter was published online.”
Wescot-Williams stated that by using the governor’s letter, Marlin attempts to put the dissolution of parliament again on the agenda of the Council of Ministers.
Remarkably, the governor writes in his letter that “the adequate functioning of our democratic process requires that space be given to the majority position in the Council of Ministers. Otherwise no justice is done to the democratic process.”
In the Council of Ministers meeting of May 13 five ministers were in favor if dissolving the parliament. Two days earlier the Democratic Party faction and Independent MP Romain Laville had withdrawn their support for the current coalition, while these three reached an agreement with the United People’s party to form a new majority. Wescot-Williams refused to execute the decision by the five ministers.
“The Prime Minister misused her authority to block a majority decision from being executed. We have done everything we could. We complained to the governor and to Kingdom Relations Minister Plasterk, but to no avail,” Marlin said.
While Marlin denied at his press conference that Wescot-Williams had mentioned the governor’s May 16 letter in last week’s Council of Ministers, the PM said in her statement that she “mentioned receipt of a letter from the governor, but that the contents in her opinion did not change the position she has taken.”
When Wescot-Williams refused to put the possible dissolution of the parliament on the agenda, the four ministers (Marlin, Tuitt, Jacobs and Pantophlet) left the meeting.
Marlin dismissed suggestions that he had “impersonated” the Prime Minister by sending a letter to the governor wherein he asked for the parliament’s dissolution. “I approached the governor on behalf of the majority in the Council of Ministers. At no time did I sign on behalf of the Prime Minister or the Council of Ministers,” Marlin emphasized.
The vice PM maintained that Wescot-Williams had hidden the governor’s letter from the Council of Ministers. “St. Maarten is now aware of the kind of Prime Minister it has,” he said. “A Prime Minister that would stoop to any level to tarnish her office for personal political gain.” Marlin repeated that all he wants is to dissolve the parliament, resulting in early elections, the dismissal of the Council of Ministers, and the establishment of a caretaker cabinet.
“It has never been the intention if the National Alliance ministers to stay in office,” Marlin said. “We thought this was the time to go back to the polls. There comes a time when a politician has to show what he is made off. The Prime Minister has clearly shown what she is made off. We say again: let the people decide whom they want to govern St. Maarten. We are prepared to face the people of St. Maarten, but it is clear that the Prime Minister is afraid to confront the voters, because the rejection they received in the 2010 elections is still fresh in their minds. She’ll do anything to stay in her seat.”
Marlin described the Prime Minister’s actions as “despicable” and said that, “It is a pity we have reached this point in our young democracy. It is a shame that the Prime Minister is allowed to manipulate the process and then be appointed as the informateur. And all this to stay in office for a few more months. Then the people will have the opportunity to speak.”
Marlin said that the ball is now in the governor’s court and that of Kingdom Relations Minister Plasterk. “This is no laughing matter. The office of the Prime Minister has to show a very high level of integrity. Instead, it lacks decency, ethics and integrity.”