MP Wescot-Williams: “We left it up to them who created it in the first place“
A majority of opposition factions left it up to the coalition to solve the mess it created around carnival, Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot Williams said in a press statement on Thursday evening.
“We have become accustomed to a little bacchanal every carnival season, and I was relieved that except for a few glitches here and there, we had not done too badly after a 2-year hiatus,” the
MP commented on a hastily convened meeting, which she decided not to attend.
Recalling the budget handling, MP Wescot added that we cannot forget that the first salvo was fired when a part of the coalition made a so-called insignificant amendment to the budget 2022 and placed the “carnival subsidy” under the Tourism Department.
June 2 MP Wescot Approves Nature Foundation St Maarten
“Be that as it may, Carnival took place, but as it now appears, ‘all was not well’ “.
We received a request from the Carnival foundation for an urgent public meeting to discuss pending issues etc.
“Choosing to request a public meeting in itself was interesting as the format of meetings with third parties is usually determined by the chair of parliament. “
But luckily for the foundation their request for a public meeting was honored and scheduled for June 9th, the meeting was to start at 11 am and was part of an agenda of 4 points.
MP Wescot, “There was talk about a public meeting being desirous in order to table a motion.”
But what happened instead?
After the starting time of the meeting, we were informed of the “moving” of this agenda point to a closed door central committee meeting of parliament .
“The public meeting did continue with 2 of the 4 agenda point, so members of parliament did have the opportunity to question this sudden “move”, only to be told that the move was requested by some MPs and that the chair had obliged.”
Further queried about this, the chair admitted that this was not motivated by the members who requested such.
In my view, rather than placate the situation, that explanation given by the Chairlady raised a fundamental issue.
“Can members of parliament request a meeting duly scheduled by the chair on request of a third party, in this case, the carnival foundation, to be postponed, canceled or whatever have you, without putting their proposition forward in the very meeting itself for the parliament to decide?
Parliament is not the playground of the governing factions!”
“What became the sudden secrecy that the president of parliament had overlooked or was unaware of when she scheduled a public meeting on this point?”
I was not impressed in the least by the spin some coalition MPs attempted to give this debacle and I refuse to be part of this game that is clearly going on in coalition circles, regardless to how they turn or twist it, MP Wescot categorically stated.
“With all that is before us as a country, this is what takes center stage?”
“If, as can be presumed from words by the Prime Minister, carnival is to be put on bid (whatever that means), why can’t this be openly debated and defended by those who are proponents of such?
Why, after all these years, are we still talking about an MOU or management agreement with the SCDF, clearly outlining the responsibilities of both parties, without any action?
How can we hold organizations responsible without an agreement?
It is my view that the government relishes in holding out to the very end about subsidizing carnival or even about having carnival.
I will have to wait for these answers in a public meeting, because I and several other colleagues refused to give any credence to this obvious NA/UPP debacle and stayed away from their hastily convened “closed door CC” on June 9th, MP Wescot concluded.