Why Paul Dijkhoffz and 2,800 others oppose the elections
“We are living in a precarious situation”
PHILIPSBURG – More than 2,800 people signed Operation 51, an online petition against the parliamentary elections the government has called for January 8 of next year. the petition, launched by SXM Strong, picked up the signatures in just three days. One of the signatories is Paul Dijkhoffz; StMaartenNews.com asked him why he is against these elections.
“I am not against elections, but I am against the moment these elections will be held.” Dijkhoffz says. “A number of strange things have happened – the actions of the governor and the frivolous use of the right to dissolve the parliament.”
Dijkhoffz says that the government should not “automatically” use the right to dissolve the parliament after parliament passes a motion of no confidence. We are living in a precarious situation; we are (on Wednesday – ed.) 63 days after Irma and there still is no perspective that we will get help. Now it will only take longer.”
The elections are on January 8 of next year but that is only the beginning, Dijkhoffz says. “Before you have a new cabinet it is going to be the beginning of March and the money is running out while people have no roof over their heads.”
Dijkhoffz agrees with the new majority of eight in Parliament (UP, DP and MP Chanel Brownbill) that Prime Minister William Marlin has waited “until the very last moment” before he agreed with the conditions the Dutch want to impose: the establishment of an integrity chamber and border control by the Royal Marechaussee.
“I cannot agree with that,” Dijkhoffz says about that late decision by the prime minister. It is immature and it is not about the interest of the country but about personal interests.”
The best way forward, Dijkhoffz says, would be a business cabinet that is able to take decisions – like the Betrian-cabinet that took over in Curacao in September 2012 after the fall of the Schotte-government. “How are we going to continue? St. Thomas is already receiving cruise ships, we don’t. There should not even be elections in 2018 – do it in 2019 if it is absolutely necessary.”
Dijkhoffz does not see anything in the national cabinet Prime Minister Marlin is still willing to talk about. “He is not in a position to negotiate a national cabinet. The majority of the people is just fed up. We are bankrupt. That recovery fund – if we get it at all – is not there to finance the government’s deficit. So then what? Should we go to the IMF and accept their conditions to help us out? These are very difficult decisions and we cannot afford to wait another five months. The competition is currently taking over our complete tourism market.”