PHILIPSBURG--Party For Progress (PFP) Members of Parliament (MPs) Melissa Gumbs and Raeyhon Peterson have sent a letter to Chairperson of Parliament Rolando Brison regarding a letter Brison has sent to the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten (CBCS), via Finance Minister Ardwell Irion.
The letter highlights PFP’s concern over “the impressions”, tone and content of Brison’s letter to CBCS.
In his letter, Brison urged CBCS to take a number of urgent actions to help ease the blow of the COVID-19 crisis in St. Maarten within two weeks of receiving his letter or make their positions available for persons who are willing to help the country.
“We are writing to you – as [Chairperson – Ed.] of Parliament – to inform you of the reality: the perception in media-circles within the Kingdom is that the letter which we have not seen in our capacity as Members of Parliament, states the position of the Parliament of St. Maarten,” PFP said in a press release issued on Friday.
PFP indicated that while Brison himself stated that the letter was his own personal opinion, it is not unusual to assume that he speaks for the entire Parliament of St. Maarten, considering he holds the position of Chairperson of Parliament. Gumbs and Peterson believe that this calls for enhanced discretion and discourse when making public statements.
“We feel it pertinent to state for the record that we believe the proper procedure to express this opinion would have been to invite the Minister of Finance and the board and management of CBCS to Parliament,” the two MPs said.
The faction believes this would have been a transparent mechanism, involving all of Parliament as they are sure other members hold their own opinions on CBCS and their response so far to COVID-19. As an example, the PFP MPs said they are not necessarily in agreement with the content of Brison’s letter, but they recognise that every MP is entitled to their opinion.
Gumbs and Peterson said they are not stepping on the right of an MP to question government or express their personal opinion on matters. However, they stressed that the opinion of one MP cannot be seen as the position of the entire Parliament.
“Holding the most visible role in Parliament does mean that what is said may very well be taken as the official stance of the Parliament,” the MPs said in their release. “The bold demands made in the article have caused serious rumbling within media- and political circles within the Kingdom: most notably in Curaçao, where they are being presented as the Parliament of St. Maarten’s demands to CBCS.”
PFP said at no time was Brison’s letter seen by or discussed with any member of the PFP faction. “So, we cannot confirm if it was sent through official channels. This begs the further question of whether or not the Honourable Minister has received it himself.”
Both MPs said they would welcome any meeting to explore the role and response of CBCS during
and after the COVID-19 crisis and recovery