~ Why was the audit at SMMC not conducted? Emmanuel~
PHILIPSBURG: --- Members of Parliament basically caught the Minister of VSA Emil Lee with his pants down as he gave conflicting answers to several questions posed to him. The Minister provided those answers on Thursday afternoon during the Central Committee meeting on the draft 2019 budget.
At one point the Minister said he got vehicles from a secret donor for his Ministry post-IRMA While answering questions Lee said at one point that the vehicles were leased, then purchased and even donated to the Ministry, when confronted Lee said the vehicles were leased and he also informed parliament it was the BZK that they were leased from. He further told parliament the vehicles were equipped with GPS which allowed government to save money. MP Christopher Emmanuel asked the Minister to inform parliament if those vehicles came in with the GPS, or were they fitted locally if locally was there a bidding process conducted and what is the cost of the GPS tracking.
Emmanuel also posed several questions to the Minister of Social Affairs on the shelter he intends to construct. Emmanuel asked where the shelter would be constructed because he wants to know where is the land space for such a building.
As for the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC), the NA MP asked the Minister about the pending audit that was supposed to be conducted since 2016. If not, he asked the Minister who stopped the audit. He asked the Minister whose responsibility it is for the deteriorating healthcare status at SMMC. He asked the Minister to provide parliament with the original copies of the Van Kemmard report which was conducted at SMMC, the Inspectorate and Department of Public of Health. Emmanuel said the Dutch consultant was paid 25,000.00 Euros for the investigation he conducted at the three departments that fall under the Ministry of VSA.
Emmanuel asked the Minister about the policy to improve the minimum wage, he added that the Minister told parliament that his department is blessed with hardworking civil servants. Emmanuel asked the Minister if his hardworking staff is working on a policy to amend the civil code so that the minimum wage could be increased. He said its time the civil servants stop working on these policies and legislation and they should finish them and get them to parliament.