~ 4 MPS off-island signed prior to leaving. ~
PHILIPSBURG:--- Some members of parliament namely those from the current National Alliance and United Peoples Party (NA/UP) coalition continue to meet in order to strengthen their coalition after MP Solange Ludmilla Duncan resigned from the National Alliance.
The formation meetings began after an urgent meeting of parliament was called on Wednesday, June 29th, 2022, where the Minister of VROMI Egbert Jurendy Doran was invited to discuss the most recent report from the Ombudsman.
As the meeting began MP Duncan read a prepared statement where she said she resigned from the National Alliance but at no point did MP Duncan indicate in her statement that she was no longer supporting the present NA/UP coalition government. Several members of parliament have said on social media posts that the current coalition only has 8 supporting members of parliament however, no letter has been sent to the governor by MP Duncan informing him that she no longer supports the current NA/ UPP coalition.
During that meeting, it was clear that the chairlady of parliament Grisha Heyliger Marten who is at odds with her party leader MP Rolando Brison was hell-bent on getting the motion of no confidence against Minister Doran on the floor of parliament before the recess begins.
On Wednesday evening some members of parliament met, and those members Rolando Brison, Akeem Arrindell, and Chanel Brownbill, the two former USP Party members who are close friends with the UPP leader and began their negotiations after the meeting of parliament held on June 29th.
On Thursday, June 30th, 2022, a political accord was drafted by faction leader of the National Alliance MP William Marlin who is currently off-island on medical. The new political accord was sent in time for the coalition meeting that was held on Friday in order for those in agreement to sign on to the new coalition agreement.
It should be noted that at least four members who want to form a new coalition are off-island and as such, they signed on to the agreement that has since been leaked since they were not going to be on the island. Those that are off-island are MP Angelique Roumou, MP Chanel Brownbill, MP George Pantophlet, and MP William Marlin.
The leaked document consists of eight signatures: -
1. William Marlin NA
2. George Pantophlet NA
3. Hyacinth Richardson NA
4. Angelique Roumou NA
5. Chanel Brownbill Independent
6. Akeem Arrindell Independent
7. Rolando Brison UPP
8. Sidhardt Bijlani UPP
Noteworthy is that MP Ludmilla de Weever and Grisha Heyliger Marten did not sign the new accord. Sources say that efforts are still being made to get both UPP members on board.
In a joint statement, the UP and NA leaders said that they met on Friday to explore the options of broadening the coalition and that discussions are not finalized.
On Saturday when the leaked addendum surfaced on social media it has been confirmed to SMN News by several of the key Members of Parliament that the negotiations have not been finalized and that it is a work in progress.
The Members of Parliament made clear that the discussions are still ongoing and all other MPs are given the opportunity to join including MP Ludmilla Duncan. They said that it is not unusual for a member of parliament to go independent but still support a government their former party is part of. Reference was made to former Member of Parliament Frans Richardson when he resigned from the National Alliance and later formed a government with them.
The leaked addendum that has 8 signatures do not bear the signature of the Prime Minister and leader of the National Alliance Silveria Jacobs who would have been the formateur of the new coalition government.
If the Prime Minister does not agree and does not sign the new accord, she can well dissolve the parliament of St. Maarten and call for new elections. Something Members of Parliament are trying to avoid at all costs.