Opinion: Ceasefire

POSTED: 03/13/14 1:24 PM

It would benefit everyone if someone stepped in to put the seemingly never-ending dogfight between Minister Maurice Lake and his predecessor William Marlin to rest.

As we wrote before, in normal countries a minister who lies to parliament leaves his office in a hurry, never to be seen in politics again. In St. Maarten, the culture is different, NA-leader Marlin noted on Monday.

Minister Lake is apparently not too fond of press conferences – lest some journalist might ask him a question, and he fires back with press releases, complete with pictures to make his point.

We figure that the leader of this cabinet, Sarah Wescot-Williams, ought to step up to the plate to do what everyone expects her to do: call the bitching politicians to order and put the plain facts on the table.

Because those plain facts, not the ones twisted by political hanky-panky, are of course available. All members of the second Wescot-Williams cabinet must know what went down in 2012 with the Emilio Wilson Estate deal. At the time, nobody cried foul, nobody told then vice prime Minister William Marlin that he had crossed a line.

But now that Minister Lake, who indeed does not tire of blaming his predecessor for anything and everything, has opened the attack on Marlin, the other players in this process suddenly have become very silent. They behave as if something is happening that has nothing to do with them.

That is, as far as we have been able to assess this situation, a typical example of what people like to call the local political culture. When two politicians get into a serious argument – or one of those long lasting disputes whereby an endless supply of mud seems to be available to both parties – other politicians keep their nose down. Maybe they are afraid some of the mud will stick to them if they open their mouth to defend one or the other party. We have no idea, but this is of course a ridiculous attitude.

If National Alliance leader William Marlin is right – and we are not saying he is, just that this could be the case – then Minister Lake ought to pack his bags. As things stand now, we will never find out what is true of the wild allegations Minister Lake has brought to the public eye.

So where do we go from here? Politicians have per definition a thick skin, so they are usually prepared for whichever political attack is coming their way. That is not our concern here.

What bothers us a lot is that, in spite of the statements the two warring parties have made, the public is left wondering about what is true and what is false.

It would serve the country, the political establishment and the people, if Minister Lake and MP Marlin declared a ceasefire and put the matter in the hands of an independent investigation committee with the task to present a report about their findings within four weeks. All this under one condition: that Lake and Marlin declare beforehand that they will accept the findings of such a committee.

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