SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - “Just when you think it could not get any lower in Parliament, the gang of liars running this country somehow managed to set a new low,” said Independent MP Christophe Emmanuel on Friday in a press statement, adding that blatant, cold-hearted lies is the order of the day for the UP/National Alliance coalition, from the Chairperson of Parliament right down.
Emmanuel was reacting to the excuses and back-peddling that was on full-display in Parliament after the Chairlady of Parliament Grisha Marten-Heyliger, admitted that indeed a dossier filled with allegations and complaints from airport COO Michel Hyman about issues at the airport, was delivered to Parliament in June 2020. It was also delivered to the Council of Ministers on the same day.
On Wednesday, the Chairlady stated to Parliament and the public that the dossier was not booked in to Parliament and is therefore not at Parliament. This was followed on Thursday by the Minister of TEATT Roger Lawrence confirming that it was delivered to the Council of Ministers.
On Friday, after Lawrence’s confirmation, the Chairlady of Parliament admitted that the dossier was received by the personal secretary of the former Chairman of Parliament Rolando Brison, “something I know for a fact she already knew from the day before,” MP Emmanuel said. MP Brison in the meantime, has maintained that he did not receive anything. “And we all know based on his track record, that if he says go left, you better go right,” MP Emmanuel said.
According to Emmanuel, this is where the further shaming of Parliament began. The Chairlady then explained to Parliament that the secretary said that she has two ways of handling documents delivered to her office. She either hands it to MP Brison directly or places it on his desk.
“And this is where the Chairlady stopped with the explanation. No indication of whether the secretary actually gave it to the former Chairman Brison or placed it on his desk. So which is it? If he is saying he didn’t get it, then it caught wings or legs from his office desk and walked out? So then by that explanation we can conclude that since June 2020 when his secretary put it on his desk, he obviously never went to work,” Emmanuel said.
“This is unacceptable. Everyone knows this secretary in question is efficient and a consummate professional. Her former boss is now throwing her under the bus, and her current boss (Heyliger-Marten) is not being totally truthful. It is as plain as day to see that there was collusion between the former Chairperson of Parliament and the Prime Minister to hide this dossier.
“And today, the Chairlady of Parliament needed to concoct another lie to protect the leader of her party who has once again managed to embarrass this country with scandal, damage the integrity of Parliament and shame his deserving coalition MP’s,” Emmanuel said. He said he finally understands why the Prime Minister thought that Brison’s “caught on tape” moment was forgivable, because by then they had already colluded on much worse.
The MP stressed that there is a much bigger picture at play and that the purposeful hiding of the dossier handicapped Parliament when it came to discussions about the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA). He said a local professional, in the person of Michel Hyman, took it upon himself to report what he felt were shady and unlawful practices at PJIA.
“He took these concerns to his bosses which ultimately is the Government of St. Maarten. And what does the government turn and do? They bury it. They hide it. We had two years of debating the airport and we are still debating the airport and its terrible CEO. This dossier could have added context and could have triggered inquiries. All the talk about integrity and corporate governance and Schiphol, all of this took place while the former President of Parliament sat on the dossier, the government hid it, then turn and blatantly lied about it. A gang of liars and enablers are running the government,” Emmanuel said.
He went on to commend Minister Lawrence to take it upon himself and find the dossier after the Prime Minister declined to answer the question in Parliament. “All of a sudden the Prime Minister wasn’t the Shareholder Rep. anymore. It suddenly became Minister Lawrence who wasn’t even there when the dossier was delivered to her government. That should have been a warning to Minister Lawrence, watch your back with these people who have perfected deceit and the habit of burning their own,” the MP said.
He said he is looking forward to findings from Minister Lawrence’s urgent meeting with the airport holding board this weekend, and to see how the media will handle the information in the dossier. “You have to counter lies with the truth, the Chairlady had the opportunity to truthfully inform the people of St. Maarten and Parliament. Instead, they took time to concoct their latest grand lie. So once again, I guess it is left up to me divulge the truth in the coming days,” the MP concluded.