Opinion: Hot water (MP Jules James)

POSTED: 01/26/12 11:45 AM

It seems that the dissatisfaction in the United People’s party faction in parliament is growing and that the pressure is mounting on parliamentarian Jules James to make a choice.
The rookie MP has been in hot water ever since the row erupted at the Pelican Resort – the current Simpson Bay Resort and Marina. James is the general manager of this company that ousted unionized employees after its identity-change, only to hire some of them back against lesser conditions later on. In parliament, James voted on two motions related to this controversy, in spite of the fact that he had a clear conflict of interest.
Now it seems that fellow-politicians have had it with their rookie-colleague, who keeps smiling at everyone who approaches him, but who is not bringing a lot of substance to the party anymore.
When James started off as an MP, it seemed that he would emerge as one of the more active parliamentarians. He beleaguered the local media with press releases about a variety of topics that gave the impression he was a man on a mission.
In May of last year for instance, James sang the praises of his party leader Theo Heyliger in a press release about infrastructural upgrades in Cole Bay, saying that the work in this district was only the beginning and that there was much more to come. What happened is that the island got bogged down by endless traffic jams.
In July of last year, James called for the establishment of a Science and Technology Council; this body would bring together “the brightest and youngest;” their task would be to advise the government about technology and science trends and policy issues and about the best way to apply this knowledge to the country’s development. Nobody reacted to this initiative and nothing has been heard about it anymore.
Three days after this press release James made again some headlines; this time the subject was a meeting of a Parlatino-committee in El Salvador that discussed climate change. He announced his intention to file a motion in parliament about the topic. Again, nothing happened.
In October of last year, on Country St. Maarten’s first anniversary, James launched yet another idea: cash-for guns, an initiative to get firearms off the streets. While the idea in itself was (and is) not bad at all, nobody reacted to it and the initiative is now a distant memory of the past.
When the labor-conflict at the Simpson Bay Resort intensified with court cases to and fro, James quit sending press releases to the media, obviously because his attention was required elsewhere.
The National Alliance justly will not let go of the circus that played out in parliament on November 17, whereby James voted against a motion that nailed him as the bad guy in the Pelican/Simpson Bay Resort saga, and in favor of a watered down version that did not contain his name.
As a politician, James is obviously damaged goods and the rumblings we pick up on the sidelines seem to indicate that one of his two careers is about to come to an end.
When Beverly Hyman asked us recently on her program what we thought would be the big story to look out for this year, we indicated happily that it would be the one wherein Jules James finally announces that he has chosen between his political and his business career.
The moment local media will be able to write that story seems to be approaching more rapidly than we expected in our wildest dreams.
When that moment is there, it will be liberating for all involved: the UP party will be glad to get rid of the negative publicity, and James will be able to concentrate on his business activities – under the supervision of his former fellow-parliamentarians.

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