PHILIPSBURG--Democratic Party (DP) leader Member of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams seeks Government’s objections to the conditions put forward by the Dutch Government for the continuation of rebuilding support.


She has written to Prime Minister William Marlin demanding to know whether Government has been apprised of the Dutch conditions and, if so, what exactly they are. Government is asked to “spell out” the conditions in its response to the letter submitted on October 11.
“Has Government been unequivocally told that refusal to cooperate will jeopardise Dutch assistance and aid? What has been Government’s response?” Wescot-Williams queried.
She also requested the number of aid requests submitted to the Dutch Government due to the destruction by Hurricane Irma and whether there are guarantees for Dutch support.
The status of the establishment of the Integrity Chamber and when Parliament will receive the draft law on that, given the agreement between the Dutch and St. Maarten Governments of July 6, were part of Wescot-Williams’ list of questions. The establishment of the Chamber is reportedly one of the conditions the Dutch Government has tagged to the continuation of support.
“While the timing might be suspect, the fact remains that the storm did not blow the Integrity Chamber issue away. It was there and talks between the two governments on the matter were well advanced,” Wescot-Williams said.
Dutch Kingdom Affairs Minister Ronald Plasterk “in essence accuses the local Government of jeopardising the reconstruction aid from the Netherlands” by not agreeing to the conditions, said Wescot-Williams.
“Firstly, I don’t believe the points of contention (at least from the information I have) are of such a nature that our democratic system would crumble because of them. Secondly, get the fine print; e.g., on the point of border control: what is concretely the proposal by the Dutch government? Control, management or assistance? Or all of the three?”
“For the sake of the wellbeing, livelihood and very survival of the St. Maarten people the Democratic Party that fought tooth and nail for our current status accepts that this is no ordinary state of affairs,” she said.
Following Irma, “our lives changed forever! If this is not reason to step down from any pedestal we are on, I don’t know what is.”
Moving the people of St. Maarten “forward out of the heap of despair and uncertainty that is slowly engulfing our island” is the Democratic Party’s main focus at this time, she said, “as it seems right now we do not have the luxury to jeopardise or condition any help. Some say we are asked to sell our souls.
“Our souls, at least mine, is content to know we did our best for the common good of St. Maarten. As we come out of the state of emergency and the stark reality sets in, let’s fight for restoration like we have never fought before. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures and outlooks.”

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