It appears the new Government of St. Maarten will finally be installed on Monday, following elections on September 26 (see Thursday paper). That is none too soon, because the three current Ministers voted into Parliament may only occupy both functions for three months, which in this case means until Christmas.
Most of the proposed cabinet members were already known, but the announcement of Rafael Boasman and Cecil Nicholas as the two representing United St. Maarten Party (US Party) must have come as a surprise to some. It’s not officially known either whether these names were both originally submitted or only after others failed to pass the mandatory screening test.
In any case US Party leader Frans Richardson asked critical questions about the current screening process during the budget debate in Parliament and seemed to receive some support from caretaker Prime Minister William Marlin of the National Alliance (NA). The latter said it can’t be so that especially persons with overwhelming backing at the polls cannot become a Minister for unclear reasons.
Marlin mentioned candidates being barred from executive office based on suspicions that have not been looked into, also not after the following election takes place and the exact same thing occurs once again. He said if a complete newcomer is involved that might be understandable, but when it regards veteran politicians priority should be given to investigating whatever possible objections “because it affects the functioning of government.”
Some have suggested screening all candidates before the election although there is a difference between being an elected representative and a public administrator, particularly concerning access to taxpayer funds and governing responsibility. Nevertheless, what is happening now in practice leads to a frustrated electorate and that can hardly be the intention.