Sarah Wescott-Williams: “De Weever didn’t leave because of counterpart policy”

POSTED: 02/23/15 12:46 AM

St. Maarten -Independent MP Cornelius De Weever did not leave the US/NA/DP coalition because of a disagreement about the counterpart policy as previously alleged, leader of the DP Sarah Wescott-Williams said in a press conference yesterday. She noted that the way in which this policy came into the news is “unfortunate” since it came “as a result of a disagreement apparently in the formation of the first coalition.”

“By now– to me– it should be quite obvious that other than announced the counterpart policy as such was not the reason for the number two candidate on the DP slate to turn his back on the coalition that was being formed following the August 2014 elections. That should be clear,” MP Wescott-Williams said as an introduction to her reasons for putting questions before parliament on the counterpart policy.

Following the August elections, the DP/NA/US entered into an agreement to form a coalition government—dubbed the Bute accord—leaving out the biggest vote getter in the elections the UP. However, at the eleventh hour DP candidate Cornelius De Weever broke away from the coalition and opted instead to enter into a coalition agreement with the UP party.

At the time De Weever sited disagreements over the counterpart policy as the most pressing matter that lead to his decision. Wescott-Williams however, who as the leader of the DP and the only other elected candidate on that party’s list was present to the same discussions and as such privy to pertinent information as to the cause of the break up for the coalition. Within weeks of De Weever walking out on the coalition being formed by leader of the NA, then formateur William Marlin, Wescott-Williams also joined the coalition.

At the time the former Prime Minister explained that the party took the decision because they felt they could be of more use to the people as part of the government. Wescot-Williams later broke away from the UP lead coalition that went on to form the current government.

Responding to questions as to the real reason MP De Weever broke away from the coalition which in essence stalled that coalition hopes of forming the government, Wescott-Williams remained tight lipped. She acknowledged that there had been disagreements but failed to shed light on what these agreements were.

The DP leader felt that the counterpart policy has since De Weever’s statements have been shrouded by his claims and as such felt the need to provide clarity. Wescott-Williams in her capacity as a Member of Parliament has raised questions on this policy, more specifically, questions to statements by Prime Minister Gumbs that consultation is continuing on this policy.

“If consultations are taking place, with whom are they taking place? If they are continuing that means they have started. With whom else is government planning to consult on the counterpart policy and what is the time frame? Are we going to reach to the third quarter of 2015 and then learn oh no we have a next six months going down the line?” Wescott-Williams explained.

She added that her faction will “keep its finger on the pulse” to monitor the progress of this policy. “Can the stakeholders on St. Maarten really look forward to having a discussion on the matter? Can they give input into the matter? Will government listen to stakeholders?” Wescott-Williams questioned. She noted that these are pertinent issues and government must provide the answers to these questions.

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