DP leader MP Sarah Wescot-Williams.
PHILIPSBURG--“A disgraceful assault on one of St. Maarten’s senior politicians and former prime minister” was one of ways the Democratic Party (DP) described what it called the “diatribe” of United People’s (UP) party leader Rolando Brison in a press statement on Wednesday.
“If you tell a lie often enough, you start to believe it yourself,” DP leader Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams said in the release, adding that she had been forewarned that she would be attacked.
Wescot-Williams said she had received a “veiled threat” asking, “Are you sure you want to do this? It’s going to get nasty!” a clear reference to the DP’s announced return to the political field.
“We see this threat manifesting itself from many angles, some of it for money, some for sensation and yet others from an angle of plain and self-consuming hatred,” she said.
DP said in the release that “with respect to MP Brison’s latest disgraceful assault on one of St. Maarten’s senior politicians and former prime minister … This is the latest convoluted diatribe coming from a Member of Parliament to whom this NA [National Alliance – Ed.] -led government should be forever grateful, a fact that the Member of Parliament makes sure he cashes in on big time.
“So, we hope everyone will understand the vengeance with which the MP attacks anything and anybody who dares question his government. MP Brison’s previous outbursts and other futile attempts to pull us down with him did not get him enough traction, so he is at it again. It is attention, of course, what the MP in his recent diatribe is fervently hoping for.”
Wescot-Williams added that people were divided on whether she should have responded to Brison and how. “Truth be told, neither the messenger nor the message is in principle deserving of my response or my attention. A messenger who, by his own admission, is not always in control of his erratic behaviour.”
She outlined which parties had the majority seats and were coalition leaders over the last 20 years: 2000-2009 DP majority; 2009-2010 NA majority; 2010-2012 UP majority; 2012-2013 NA majority; 2013-2014 UP majority; 2014-2015 UP majority; 2015-2017 NA majority; 2017-2018 UP majority; 2018-2019 UD majority; and 2019 to present NA majority.
Wescot-Williams: “Now compare that with how our island is faring and has been faring. Compare that with how St. Maarten people acted and are acting towards each other and ask yourself why? Going against my own grain somewhat, I ask my colleague Brison: “If you believe your own story, what is your problem with Sarah A. Wescot-Williams or the DP for that matter? Why even waste your energy, when after all, your bogus and orchestrated poll shows us getting one seat, doesn’t it? So why don’t you focus on who might be a challenge to you?
“In essence, the question to you, sir, is: Why Sarah? The DP would like to know.”
“And lest we forget, this is coming from someone who confiscated a political party after playing the victim card with other political parties. In a twisted sense, even that DP made possible, by legislating political parties.
“Let’s put some perspective to the diatribe of MP Brison. The legacy allows the MP to hold the position he holds. How he handles this position is, of course, not for DP’s account, as he – through whatever means – got elected, like every other single Member of Parliament. The MP is attempting to spin a narrative, and as with everything else, if you tell a lie often enough, you start to believe it yourself.”
Wescot-Williams said more than 30 years in the political minefield of St. Maarten, to be female, sane and standing, knocks and bruises notwithstanding, is a feat.
“I was forewarned and with that warning, came the ‘gentle’ request, maybe, just maybe you don’t want or need this? Is it because I am one of the few left standing who can see through the facades put on by the members of the longest-serving government?
“How often was this government on the brink of collapse and what and who saved the day? How often did coalition members threaten the government to get their way and how often did ministers capitulate under this pressure? How come the MP selectively chose his topics, leaving other topics untouched? All of this in the hope that St. Maarten has forgotten and will forgive?
“Would we not have been eons further, had this government not had to reluctantly and fight it all the way, return – tail between legs – to the Dutch Trust Fund, a programme negotiated by a DP-supported government? Would we not have been eons further, had not the airport project been brutalised because of politics? Would we not be eons further, had the social partners and vital stakeholders not been excluded from vital discussions? Would we not be eons further, had not the government acted in a divide-and-rule manner?” said Wescot-Williams.
She asked how many people have been and continue to be victimised under the watchful eye of the current administration.
“How many of our legit organisations have not been sidelined by the same? How many cries of the public have not been left unanswered? After 32 years and still standing, you learn patience.
“While I have a few law courses under the belt, I by no means pretend to know better than the judge himself what a verdict means. I can’t wait to see if the finance minister will follow the suggestion of his coalition leader and contest the Bearing Point judgement. Patience!
“So, when we wish to perpetuate the DP legacy spin, unfortunately we have to admit that that legacy has been grossly mismanaged by many of those who followed. One thing no one can say about my country. That is that we do not forgive! And if you can play the victim card good enough, we will allow you to do it all over again,” she said.