Formateur Jacobs on a mission impossible - coalition needs to accept conditions of formation or return the mandate to H. E. The Governor.
By MP Sarah Wescot-Williams
From the looks of the mandate from H. E. Governor Holiday to Formateur Jacobs, the Formateur is placed before an impossible assignment, unless members of the NA/USP/Mercelina/Brownbill coalition are prepared to make a complete about-face, in other words, do a complete flip-flop on matters that they individually and collectively have taking a none compromising stance on.
To mention a few of the matters which the NA/USP/Mercelina/Brownbill coalition members have been adamantly against:
The World Bank/Trust Fund reconstruction program
The Dutch and EIB Financing for the airport
The Hospital project
The imminent election (and electoral reform)
The most cardinal matters that the NA/USP/Mercelina/Brownbill members have chided the caretaker government of PM Romeo-Marlin for repeatedly and brought several motions against the government for, are now the very matters the new coalition are to finalize, according to the instructions to Formateur Jacobs.
In summary this is what the formation mandate to MP Jacobs instructs the interim Jacobs-government to do, if accepted:
“The/an agreement that government will continue and complete ongoing business, including existing agreements and a commitment to the promotion of the wellbeing of the people of Sint Maarten.”
Priority to conclude the legislation regarding the combatting of money laundering and financing of terrorism;
To execute the agreement made with the Netherlands regarding the financing of the national recovery of Sint Maarten, including the financing of the rehabilitation of the airport;
To further prepare the execution of the elections;
To take steps to realize electoral reform……..
To conclude the budget for 2020.
Amazing how diametrically opposed these viewpoints are to everything the Coalition of 9 has firmly stood against.
1. Members of the coalition have outright refused to compromise on the matter of terrorism financing and anti-money laundering, citing hardship for the people, when the opposite is true. If we don’t comply, the consequences will be felt by every resident of St. Maarten.
2.How most coalition members view the relationship with the Dutch government and its Trust Fund is public knowledge. In fact, one of the NA/USP/Mercelina/Brownbill coalition’s trump cards in this regard is the NA/USP refusal in 2017 to cooperate with the Dutch government on any matter that regarded the Trust Fund.
3. The position of the coalition on the election is also crystal clear from their daily statements, even threatening to overturn the election decree, and their motion against the council of ministers.
4. Not to mention electoral reform. The previous dissolution of parliament in November 2017, under the now Chairperson of Parliament was to also be about electoral reform. Did he do anything? Or better yet, will he do anything now? And if so, what?
5. Budget 2020: will this budget be prepared without the liquidity assistance from the Dutch government? We know how the coalition members view liquidity assistance.
It is one thing to savor the feeling that the new coalition is already in a serious predicament, if their word is to be taken seriously. Not unthinkable is the concoction of all kinds of arguments to defend that they have to go back on their word. On the other hand however, the ones who stand to lose in this predicament are the people of St. Maarten, so I take no joy in observing how this all will unravel. To the contrary, I am extremely concerned.
I hope, for the sake of St. Maarten, that this coalition drops its arrogance and bravado and just do what needs to be done. That means in the words of the Governor “….that government will continue and complete ongoing business, including existing agreements and a commitment to the promotion of the wellbeing of the people of Sint Maarten.”
If not, at least be honest and return the formation mandate with the acceptance that the new coalition can not comply with the agenda given by H. E. The Governor of St. Maarten. There is no in between.