Published On: Mon, Oct 20th, 2014

St. Maarten will not allow Dutch to make a mockery of its democracy

Theo HeyligerPHILLIPSBURG - With the instruction given to Governor Eugene Holiday by Dutch Minister of Kingdom Relations Plasterk, the Dutch government has one again shown that it will spare no measure in setting aside St. Maarten’s constitution and continue disrespecting St. Maarten’s Parliamentary democracy.

This time, they have put Governor Holiday in a complicated unenviable position by instructing him not to ratify decrees appointing candidate ministers and the Prime Minister until an expanded vetting process that they (the Dutch) want to set in place in addition to St. Maarten’s own investigative process.

Moreover, the Governor, who also has to keep St. Maarten’s best interest in mind, is being told that he has to rely on a team of Dutch appointees to tell him who is ethical enough to become Minister. They want the governor to guarantee integrity based on the instructions of Dutch appointees, not St. Maarten’s investigative process. This is a blatant insult to the Governor as well as the people of St. Maarten.

We want to make one thing very clear to the people of St. Maarten: The Dutch government cannot change the rules of the game after the match has started and we are 15 minutes away from half time. In other words, the democratic process to elect a government started with our electoral process (postulation day etc etc). It continued with the holding of elections, forming of a coalition and now appointing of Ministers. The Dutch simply cannot change the rules after we are this far along and change them with such obvious malicious intentions.

The Dutch Government is using as justification the findings of two integrity reports, one of which was commissioned by the government of St. Maarten itself. The Dutch government has disregarded the fact that St. Maarten has to its credit undertaken several initiatives to enhance integrity throughout its system and the fact that the incoming government has pledged to seriously consider the recommendations and allegation in the reports as prescribed by law and if so warranted.

Instead, the Dutch government, buoyed by the unsubstantiated noise of Dutch MP’s and in total disregard for St. Maarten’s rights, issues an unconstitutional instruction aimed, obviously, at the highest vote getter on St. Maarten the Honorable MP Theo Heyliger.

The Dutch government is not only thwarting democracy, but is making a mockery of it by giving an instruction to basically find something, anything on MP Heyliger to not only disqualify him as Prime Minister, but to use as a premise for possible prosecution. Think about the precedence this would set for any St. Maartener who sought political office but whom the Dutch considers persona non grata. The Dutch, mind you, who nobody on St. Maarten democratically elected.

There has been no measure or action to date, not even their slanderous, unsubstantiated allegations of calling duly elected representatives of the people “the mafia”, that demonstrates more vividly that the Dutch do not view St. Maarten as an equal partner within the Kingdom than this latest instruction.

No candidate Minister will agree to a vague limitless investigation of his/her person and entire family, third parties, friends and acquaintances without the parameters of vetting being known. The subjectivity created herein will leave room for arbitrary vetting procedures without any guarantee of an equal treatment.

It is quite obvious that this measure is designed against MP Heyliger and confirms what we have said before: It is a blatant witch hunt that simultaneously insults the people of St. Maarten and now the Governor.  The Dutch government has now shown the world that without any credible, proven basis whatsoever, that it is capable of targeting elected representatives within the kingdom.

This instruction shall be utilized in any form or fashion necessary to ensure that one man alone cannot pass the vetting. Any criteria can be created, without the vetting process to be verified in any form, and any advice can be formulated even if the findings of the vetting do not support same.

No candidate would want to assume a Ministerial position where the political responsibility is theirs for actions to be conducted by the Dutch at their discretion without any form of communication to the Minister or knowledge of the Minister.

The Dutch government in so many words has reminded the people of St. Maarten that St. Maarten is not an autonomous country, but a colony where the colonizers can decide for their colony on a whim.  Their actions continue to make clear that this colonial distinction is one the people St. Maarten will have to decide upon much sooner rather than later.

The people of St. Maarten and in fact the entire political establishment of St. Maarten and other Kingdom partners, are now being told quite clearly that whenever the Dutch deems someone as unacceptable to them, despite the fact that the people voted for that person as part of St. Maarten’s Parliamentary democracy, that they can step in and issue enhanced screening instructions to fit their motives. That they can manipulate our democracy and expect us to freely allow and accept it.

This is not something St. Maarten will accept. As such, the faction of the United People Party has requested an urgent Parliament meeting for upcoming Monday, October 20 to bring the instruction up for debate. St. Maarten is prepared to take this issue much further within the Kingdom and beyond to ensure that St. Maarten’s rights as a Parliamentary democracy are respected. The meeting has been requested by MP Silvio Matser and MP Tamara Leonard and Faction leader of the UP Mp Franklin Meyers.

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