Pantophlet at brink of requesting meeting on Harbor

POSTED: 05/12/11 12:58 PM

St. Maarten – National Alliance Member of Parliament (MP) George Pantophlet plans to request a meeting of parliament with Shareholder Representative for the St. Maarten Harbor Group of Companies Theodore Heyliger. The meeting will be called if the latter does not answer questions on a plot of land at the Harbor and the status of the group’s finances. Three MPs must sign the request for the meeting to be called.

The questions were sent six weeks ago on March 22 after a picture of the land was shown in a local daily on March 16. Heyliger said on April 20 that the answers to Pantophlet’s questions were in the project documents the Island Council approved in 2007 for the expansion of the Harbor. He’d also said he’d be sending the MP answers that very day, but Pantophlet said he has yet to receive them.

“I checked with the Secretary General as recently as Monday and the answers still have not been received,” Pantophlet said.

Pantophlet was also surprised that Heyliger could not clearly state whether or not the Harbor Group had submitted audited financial reports for the past three years and that he also placed the onus for this on the former shareholder representative – the Lt. Governor.

“This would appear that the minister was not aware of what is taking place at his harbor, sorry the people’s harbor,” the MP wrote in his statement.

Pantophlet now plans to submit a reminder of the questions and if he does not get an answer he’ll move to calling the public meeting.

“I have no specific time frame. I have not determined that as yet,” he said when asked how long he’d be willing to wait after he sent the reminder.

Finance Minister

Pantophlet is also not happy that Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto has yet to send MPs answers to over 100 written questions that were posed during the first round of discussion on developments surrounding the 2011 budget. The MP has heard that the answers are ready, but Shigemoto is apparently waiting for a date for the discussion to resume before sending the answers. The meeting was adjourned on Thursday, April 21.

“The responsible and respectable approach of the Minister is to send the answers to Parliament as soon as possible and not to follow the old behaviors of the past and wait until the day of the meeting to do so,” Pantophlet wrote in a statement.

The MP labels the lack of response by both ministers as Island Territory politics in a Country system or more directly new wine being poured into old wine skins.

“The new wine being the Parliament and the council of Ministers of St. Maarten and the old wine skin being the old mind set. This behavior has to change because it is hindering the growth of St. Maarten. We cannot pour new wine into old wine skins,” Pantophlet stated in his release.


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