~ Calls on Jacobs to disclose new conditions ~
PHILIPSBURG–Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel said on Monday that Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, by continuing to hide crucial information from the public on the eight new conditions from the Dutch to remove the 12.5 per cent cost-cutting measures, is proving that she cannot be trusted.
He also believes that maintaining the 25 per cent salary cut on ministers and MPs is discriminatory and accused Jacobs and State Secretary of Kingdom Relations and Digitization Alexandra van Huffelen of blatant employment discrimination and of acting in contravention of the St. Maarten and Holland constitutions and United Nations conventions.
Maintaining the 25 per cent cut is one of the eight conditions proposed by the Dutch government for the removal of the 12.5 per cent solidarity cuts in employment benefits of civil servants and (semi-) public sector entities. Jacobs has not disclosed what five of the eight conditions are and so far has only alluded to three that already have been publicised.
Emmanuel said he had no issue voting with this one law to be in solidarity with workers in the private and public sectors. However, he questioned why it is okay to discriminate against ministers and MPs in this manner, all of whom also have monthly obligations to their families.
He stressed that Article 1 of the constitution contains that in the Netherlands in situations involving equal circumstances all people have to be treated the same way and it is forbidden to discriminate.
“Various statutory provisions prohibit discrimination, including, but not limited to, the equal treatment in employment, civil status, working hours (full time or part time), political opinion and so on,” he said. “In other words, it is prohibited to have these three laws in St. Maarten where you are seeking to eliminate one or two and not all. Because now, it comes over as punishment or vindictiveness from the Dutch, allowed by the government of St. Maarten.
“It cannot be so that these things are sacred and deeply embedded in our constitutions and the State Secretary can demand that such a law be maintained. The Prime Minister, instead of casually accepting these infringements, should actually point out that these positions of the Dutch are against our constitutions, their constitution and basic decent human rights as recognised by the United Nations. Stand up for your people and our rights for once,” Emmanuel said.
As it relates to the eight new conditions, he accused Jacobs of “wilfully holding back” information. “Why can’t the people of St. Maarten and the Parliament of St. Maarten know what the new conditions are? According to the prime minister, the state secretary sent her a letter with these conditions outlined. So why not just say what they are?” Emmanuel asked.
“How does saying what these conditions are affect any type of negotiation? The prime minister and minister of finance are singing a tune lamenting the hardships that the 12.5 per cent cuts have on workers; a 12.5 per cent law that they themselves pushed on the people. The Prime Minister boldly said the conditions are too much and the 12.5 per cent has to go.
“So, if you truly believe that, then say what the conditions are,” unless the Prime Minister “wants to sound good” in public, then negotiate St. Maarten into another bad situation and say, “We had no choice.”
“Did you get a letter from the state secretary? What is in it? Which of the conditions do you find acceptable and why? Which do you find unacceptable and why? Is there a deadline? What was the state secretary’s response when you informed her that the conditions would be too hard for St. Maarten to bear? Did you indeed relay that to her? There are so many answers this government should be giving and once again, as if on cue, we get the silent treatment,” he said.
Emmanuel also reiterated the point he made last week about Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion seeking to pay out parts of the vacation pay. “The government only has to repeal the law and pay the people what is owed to them. How are you paying out anything without repealing the law? You don’t need Holland or the state secretary’s permission to do that. Just do it. Why can’t this government ever do anything that is obviously and glaringly beneficial to the people?” Emmanuel said.
Bron: Daily Herald