National Alliance MP Marlin: “Certainly not a year to remember”POSTED: 09/16/15 10:17 PM
St. Maarten – “What is there to talk about?” National Alliance leader William Marlin wondered in his address at the closure of the parliamentary year yesterday morning. “You expect to be looking back at the results of the past year. I searched and I could not come up with anything like, yes! this is what we have achieved for the people of St. Maarten.”
Marlin referred to the speech Governor Drs. Eugène Holiday made at the opening of the parliamentary year in 2014. The governor mentioned “limited fiscal space” as part of the challenges the country is facing.
“Instead of heeding that call from the Governor we are now again under supervision,” Marlin said, adding, with a swipe at UP faction leader Franklin Meyers, “Those who believe that we should be in control of our own destiny should do something about it.”
Marlin recalled the eighteen amendments to the Integrity Chamber law the UP had tabled. “and then they withdrew them and voted for a law that they were against.”
The opposition leader furthermore pointed to the legislation that was, according to the governor at the time, in preparation. He mentioned the small claims court, the bureau for intellectual property, the gaming control board, the increase of the retirement age from 60 to 62, compulsory pension plans and tax reform measures.
“The parliament was making the promise that people who turned 60 would not be sent home, in view of the increase of the retirement age. Yet this month people who became 60 got a notice that they will be sent home.”
“What did the people get from a party that won seven seats?” Marlin continued. “Today they brag about being the first for this and the first for that, but they are the last to live up to the promises they made to the people.”
Marlin did not miss the opportunity to list the failures of the government: the unresolved debts to social insurance agency SZV and to pension fund APS, the ‘white elephant’ – the hapless new government administration building on Pond Island – and rising crime.
“Cruise companies will pull out 20 percent of their port calls to St. Maarten during the next season,” he said,
Furthermore, Marlin touched upon “peddling of the Emilio Wilson Estate to Rain Forest,” utility company Gebe’s memorandum of understanding with a company in the Dominican Republic, the lack of clarity about the security contract at the harbor and, more recently, the non-disclosure deal with developer Zebec, and the administrative investigation by the prosecutor’s office into the harbor group of companies and the construction of the causeway.
“It is certainly not a year to remember,” Marlin concluded.