PHILIPSBURG:--- Member of Parliament and Leader of the United People's UP Party MP Rolando Brison says he echoes the sentiment of so many who are tired of the continuous grandstanding by MP Sarah Wescot-Williams, who has been in government for so long and was part of creating so many of the problems we have today; Questioning things Parliament's motion regarding Mullet Bay, which she ran away from voting on, the progress of the new General Hospital, electoral reforms and many other issues her failures in leadership helped create today. He says despite being reputably branded as the "Do-Nothing" Party and MP/Executive Council/Minister during her long time in office, she seems to believe the people of St. Maarten don't see through her façade. "The people of St. Maarten want innovative, hard-working politicians who exemplify 'Country above self' and are no longer interested in her pretentious mantra of protectionism and personal interests."
According to MP Brison, "Despite unprecedented challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, global economic decline, the conflict in Ukraine and hurricane damage left unresolved since 2017, along with the significant financial challenge, we kept St. Maarten afloat and are surpassing all economic and social indicators such as those of the CFT and IMF. The UP Party makes no excuses as we continue to pick up cans her governments have kicked down the road, all to the benefit of the people. The UP Party, as part of this government, has made substantial progress in improving the welfare of the people, and contrary to the claim of slow construction at the site for the new General Hospital under MP Wescot-Williams's leadership, there was no construction for six years, and a failed General Health Insurance initiative that was so bad her party was not willing to support. Another example of the "Do-Nothing" brand living its life."
MP Brison said on Sunday, "MP Wescot-Williams should concede that her flawed judgment and inaction in around 30 years as a public servant has left St. Maarten vulnerable to challenges in healthcare, Education, finance, constitutional issues, and taxes, roles for which she directly sat on the seat as the person who was supposed to fix those issues. The fact is that under her watch during those 30 years, she left Mullet Bay, the prison system, the tax system, the healthcare system, and our educational system in a state of decay. What the people deserve from her is an apology, and the best way she can serve the Country is to serve as a reminder of how NOT to build a Country," stated Brison.
"I want to be very frank with the people of St. Maarten today because I know you feel it as well. To answer the question, hundreds of people ask me, yes, I too find MP Wescot-Williams' questions and comments bizarre because, in my view and that of almost every citizen in this Country, she has been in office longer than anyone has. When I see her articles, I tell myself, 'but why doesn't she ask herself the question? She caused that!' So many people reading her articles and listening to her in Parliament feel like they are listening to the story of an arsonist burning a building and then demanding the fire department put it out. Then the arsonist asked the fire department why they did not come quicker. And why they used water instead of foam solution. It's truly a bizarre thing to see, but also a stark reminder of who failed St. Maarten the most."
MP Brison said the examples of this are far too numerous to mention but did highlight a few. "She put former health Minister Emil Lee in office, and he made a mess of the General Hospital under her watch, costing the taxpayer immensely to pay off one Contractor in favour of another before even one brick was laid. Yet today, MP Wescot-Williams wants to play with the people's emotions with frivolous questions about things like Mullet Bay and the Hospital pretending to care only now because it's an election year."
The people of St. Maarten are well aware that MP Wescot-Williams has been a part of the Government or Parliament for over thirty years, yet when we ask to show what she has done to ease their burden when they have to struggle to find food for their children and those who are still without proper housing, she cannot. One Example: Under MP Wescot-Williams's watch, the Minimum Wage was never raised significantly, which affects thousands of people. Today, because of efforts by UP Minister of Health Omar Ottley, the Minimum Wage went "UP" by more than all the previous increases combined! He also started construction and has done more for the General Hospital in 17 months than any other health Minister combined, including those handpicked by Wescot-Williams."
MP Brison says St. Maarten faces many challenges today that require revitalized and influential representatives with no personal agenda to bring resolutions. "The people of St. Maarten deserve more from veteran politicians whose only strategy seems to be pretending their hands are clean and asking questions about challenges they created or left unresolved.
While MP Wescot-Williams raised questions about Electoral Reform, MP Brison reminded her in his press release that she is one of the longest-serving Prime Ministers and was directly responsible for electoral reform. He said, "She made no tangible improvement to our electoral system, yet every time an election is on the horizon, alas, she dusts off her ancient speeches about electoral reform."
When she was not serving as PM, MP Wescot-Williams also served as Chair of Parliament and Chair of the Electoral Reform Committee in Parliament. She made zero changes to our electoral system despite leading that committee."
According to MP Brison, MP Wescot-Williams should mention that the reason for a six-year delay in constructing the General Hospital was that the DP Party's Minister of Health canceled an agreement with the original General Contractor VAMED for a new deal with INSO, now FINSO, who was at that time reportedly bankrupt. "Had we stuck to the UP's original plan to build a new general hospital, we would have one today. But she and her Minister failed miserably in deviating from the UP's plans, resulting in immense delays and price increases. And here she is trying to repeat history to derail the efforts of the UP Party with her hypocritical questioning of the government."
MP Brison said, "She should also explain how a Company (NIB) who allegedly brokered the financing deal with the new Contractor INSO and is connected to a subsidiary of the Parman Group, which happens to be owned by Hushang Ansary, who also the owner of Mullet Bay for many years.
Meanwhile, Court documents show that her direct family member(s) benefitted in the Millions from companies that fall under the Parman Group of Hushang Ansary, Sun Resorts, and the Mullet Bay property. Those same names appear linked to the financing of INSO that created chaos over the hospital construction for six years. Everything they touch goes to a standstill and then decays, literally."
"The question is which master MP Wescot-Williams is serving with her questions, personal family interests, or a party financier that has cost the country Billions in economic losses over 30 years?" asked MP Brison.
The UP Party leader wasted no time in his criticism of Wescot-Williams' last Health Minister, Lee, who he said made a mess of the efforts by the Civil Servants in the Health Ministry to improve healthcare and labour law.
MP Wescot-Williams has no excuse for not bringing laws to improve healthcare or labour reforms. She had a majority in Parliament but could not pass the General Health Insurance Law proposed by her own Minister. Meanwhile, this UP Party has healthcare and labor-reform laws on the books in Parliament said MP Brison.
MP Brison also took note of comments made by MP Wescot-Williams about the condition of the Pointe Blanche Prison but said she forgot to mention that under her leadership, St. Maarten had the most devastating human rights allegations brought against it in court, which the Country shamefully lost. The European Court considered the allegations brought to be the result of decades of neglect of the Prison.
"So when MP Wescot-Williams waits until we have taken an innovative approach to build a new Prison and protect the human rights of the incarcerated to ask about the Prisoners, I find that she is out of touch with reality and conveniently forgets the role she played in allowing the terrible conditions our inmates endured for decades. Brison said, "The time has come for MP Wescot-Williams to take accountability and apologize to the people of St. Maarten for failing to deliver the relief they desperately needed for 28 years."