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Motion of no confidence hindering PJIAE terminal building reconstruction

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Motion of no confidence hindering PJIAE terminal building reconstruction

Unread post by bimjim » Tue Nov 05, 2019

https://www.smn-news.com/st-maarten-st- ... lings.html

Motion of no confidence hindering PJIAE terminal building reconstruction, Geerlings.
04 November 2019


Finance Minister Perry Geerlings informed parliament on Monday that there is money through the World Bank and the European Investment Bank (EIB) to continue with the reconstruction of the Princess Juliana International Airport terminal building.

Geerlings said that he was prepared to sign off on the agreements some two weeks ago but was prevented since parties requested more information and clarity from the Parliament of St. Maarten.

The Finance Minister said that due to the motion of no confidence passed against the current caretaker government on September 25th with special instructions, such and not signing off on third party agreements he as Minister of Finance could not sign off on the agreements. Geerlings called on Parliament to give him permission through a motion in order for him to signing on the agreements which include the bondholders. He made clear there is money for the reconstruction of the terminal building.

Geerlings also referred to the declaration made by the Governor of St. Maarten when he appointed the leader of the National Alliance Silveria Jacobs as formateur which he said was not contested by Jacobs when she accepted the mission of forming the interim government.

MP Frans Richardson told the Minister of Finance that if he cannot execute the mandate given to him in the budget that was passed earlier this year then he must pack up and go home and allow someone else that is willing to execute do the job.

Richardson made clear that he will not support any motion because parliament already gave the Council of Ministers the mandate in the 2019 budget where the loan was approved.

Richardson insisted that if this caretaker council of ministers cannot get the job done then the interim government will execute when they are appointed.

The USP leader pleaded with the CEO of PJIAE to allow locals to grow, just like he was given a chance when he left TELEM and appointed CEO PJIAE.

National Alliance MP Ardwell Irion asked the Minister of Finance to provide parliament with the communique he received from the bondholders.

Ardwell said he is of the opinion that this caretaker government is busy playing politics with the workers of PJIAE.

MP Jurendy Doran asked the Minister of Finance to inform parliament with the agreements that were signed that those that are not signed off. He said that the Minister is withholding information from parliament, yet he is asking parliament to give him the authority to execute.

He asked the Minister to provide the figures owed to the bondholders and the figures that the bondholders are holding as secured funds.

Doran asked the finance minister to provide parliament with a breakdown of the cost of the World Bank and EIB loan including that spent on consultants.

He asked if fees at PJIAE will be increased including the rates and charges. Asked if IATA was consulted on the fees and if they were not consulted then the Minister must inform parliament why they were not consulted. Doran also asked the Minister to inform parliament whether preclearance was included in the financial agreements because so far, the only thing parliament is hearing is the differences of opinion within the council of ministers.

MP Christopher Emmanuel also made clear that he will not approve anything because parliament neither the new majority did not cause the current situation. Emmanuel said he is prepared to wait until the interim government takes office because in his view the bondholders do not trust the caretaker government especially when they see and read what takes place within the caretaker council of ministers.

Emmanuel said so far, the parliament of St. Maarten has nothing on the loan agreement.

Caretaker Prime Minister Wycliffe Smith pleaded with members of parliament to provide the government with a statement or bypassing the motion presented by SMCP MP Claude Peterson since he is of the opinion that the bondholders do not understand the laws that govern St. Maarten. PM Smith said he does understand the sentiments expressed by several MPs especially Frans Richardson but he wants parliament to understand that while they approved the 2019 budget, it’s the same parliament that passed a motion on September 25th that has instructions regarding the signing of agreements with third parties.

Despite the plea, MP Richardson informed the Ministers that they should focus on executing the 2019 budget. Richardson said that the COM is busy executing everything in the same budget but is holding back on the part that deals with the loan. Richardson said he personally did not implode the government of UD/SMCP. He made clear he will not support any motion simply because he does not know what the loan agreement entails. MP Richardson further stated that parliament passed several motions and nothing was done about them when it came to executing.

NA leader and formateur Silveria Jacobs also stated that the caretaker government has everything that needs to execute the loan agreement for PJIAE with the bondholders. MP Jacobs informed the caretaker government that the motion they submitted is redundant.

Members of Parliament from the current majority of 9 left the chamber of parliament when the time came to vote on the motion therefore the meeting was adjourned since the motion was not voted upon.

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Re: Motion of no confidence hindering PJIAE terminal building reconstruction

Unread post by bimjim » Wed Nov 06, 2019

https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/9 ... nt-on-pjia

MPs approve ‘interpellation request’ to call ministers to Parliament on PJIA
05 November 2019


Members of Parliament (MPs) on Tuesday approved its first “interpellation request” to call in three ministers to Parliament to answer specific questions provided beforehand, on the reconstruction of Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA).

The request was made by United Democrats (UD) Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams. Her request was to invite caretaker Prime Minister Wycliffe Smith, caretaker Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications (TEATT) Stuart Johnson and caretaker Minister of Finance Perry Geerlings to Parliament to answer questions on the reconstruction of PJIA.

The request was passed by 10 votes for and one vote against during Tuesday’s plenary public session. National Alliance (NA) MP Christophe Emmanuel voted against the request. The approval will go down in history as the first time Parliament made use of its right to interpellation in its nine-year history.

Earlier in the meeting, Chairperson of Parliament William Marlin said in accordance with Article 68 of the Rules of Order of Parliament, if an MP wants Parliament to invite one or more ministers to provide information in accordance with Article 63 of the Constitution, he or she may submit a written motivated proposal that will be handled if it is supported by at least another member.

The second paragraph of Article 68 further stipulates that once the meeting has approved the proposal, it will be forwarded as soon as possible to the relevant ministers. Marlin cautioned that the right of interpellation is “a heavy instrument/tool” of Parliament because it can expose conflicts between the government and Parliament and hence is used sparingly.

In a letter motivating her request to use the interpellation tool, Wescot-Williams said the reconstruction of PJIA is a matter of ongoing debate and concern. She said statements by different ministers have unfortunately not contributed to putting to rest the prevailing sentiment that the plans to reconstruct the airport, the airport’s financing and the US pre-clearance plans are not synchronized between the airport companies and their shareholders. “In other words, we don’t seem to have our act together.”

She said also that several international partners are in one way or another involved in one or more of these matters, and “the apparent lack of one vision from local authorities and stakeholders, in my view, places St. Maarten in a negative light and weakens the country’s position.”

In her request, Wescot-Williams also posed 10 questions for the three ministers to provide answers to Parliament on. She asked whether there is a firm agreement amongst government, PJIA and all other involved stakeholders on the World Bank/Trust Fund financing proposal for the reconstruction of the airport, and if this is the case to list the name, function and date of approval.

She also asked what the delay is in proceeding in accordance with this agreement; whether the airport is still desirous of seeking other financial options and if so, what the terms and conditions are for other potential financiers.

She queried whether the airport is still engaged with potential financiers it had approached in the earlier stage of its reconstruction efforts; whether there are interested organisations and/or firms on hold or have these talks been terminated and whether is it permissible under the World Bank/Trust Fund agreement to simultaneously pursue other options for financing.

Other questions covered the current financial position of PJIA and its operating company PJIAE; the precise (re)construction plan or layout for the airport; whether a US pre-clearance facility can be included in the plans at this time and whether it is already known of the envisaged pre-clearance what is required, financially feasible and economically beneficial.

Marlin made clear that it will only be the questions provided by Wescot-Williams in her request that the ministers will need to answer.

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