MP Emmanuel calls on PM
to disclose new conditions
~ Says discrimination is also at play ~
Independent MP Christophe Emmanuel on Monday said the Prime Minister of St. Maarten is proving once again that she cannot be trusted by continuing to hide crucial information from the people of St. Maarten. “More evidence that they cannot be trusted,” the MP said.
The MP was referring to what he called “the Prime Minister’s willful holding back” on what she says are new conditions from State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen attached to the possible reduction or elimination of the 12.5% cuts on workers income and benefits. The MP also accused both the Prime Minister of St. Maarten and State Secretary van Huffelen of blatant employment discrimination which is in contravention to the constitutions of the St. Maarten, the Netherlands, and various conventions of the United Nations.
“Why can’t the people of St. Maarten and the Parliament of St. Maarten know what the new conditions are? According to the Prime Minister, the State Secretary sent her a letter with these conditions outlined. So why not just say what they are?” the MP asked.
“How does saying what these conditions are affect any type of negotiation? The Prime Minister and Minister of Finance are singing a tune lamenting the hardships that the 12.5% cuts have on workers; a 12.5% law that they themselves pushed on the people. The Prime Minister boldly said the conditions are too much and the 12.5% have to go. So if you truly believe that, then say what the conditions are,” the MP said.
Unless, the MP continued, the Prime Minister “wants to sound good” in public, then negotiate St. Maarten into another bad situation and say “we had no choice.” “Did you get a letter from the State Secretary? What is in it? Which of the conditions do you find acceptable and why? Which do you find unacceptable and why? Is there a deadline? What was the State Secretary’s response when you informed her that the conditions would be too hard for St. Maarten to bear? Did you indeed relay that to her? There are so many answers this government should be giving and once again, as if on cue, we get the silent treatment,” he said.
The MP also re-iterated the point he made last week about the Minister of Finance seeking to pay-out parts of the vacation pay. “The government only has to repeal the law and pay the people what is owed to them. How are you paying out anything without repealing the law? You don’t need Holland or the State Secretary’s permission to do that. Just do it. Why can’t this government ever do anything that is obviously and glaringly beneficial to the people,” MP Emmanuel said.
On the issue of discrimination, MP Emmanuel accused the PM and State Secretary of acting in contravention to the constitutions of St. Maarten, Holland and United Nations conventions. He was referring to the law regarding the cut in the salaries of ministers and members of parliament to the amount of 25% of their salaries/benefits.
Emmanuel said that he had no issue voting with this one law to be in solidarity with workers in the private and public sectors. He questioned however, why it is ok to discriminate against Ministers and MPs in this manner, all of whom also have monthly obligations to their families.
He stressed that Article 1 of the constitution contains that in the Netherlands in situations involving equal circumstances all people have to be treated the same way and it is forbidden to discriminate. “Various statutory provisions prohibit discrimination, including, but not limited to, the Equal Treatment in Employment, civil status, working hours (full time or part time), political opinion and so on,” the MP said.
“In other words, it is prohibited to have these three laws on St. Maarten where you are seeking to eliminate one or two and not all. Because now, it comes over as punishment or vindictiveness from the Dutch, allowed by the government of St. Maarten. It cannot be so that these things are sacred and deeply embedded in our constitutions and the State Secretary can demand that such a law be maintained. The Prime Minister instead of casually accepting these infringements, should actually point out that these positions of the Dutch is against our constitutions, their constitution and basic decent human rights as recognized by the United Nations. Stand up for your people and our rights for once,” MP Emmanuel said.