In a press statement issued by the UP leader Mp Brison, is calling for the Chairperson of Parliament to be removed. The Press Release in its entirety, is herewith published:
During today’s Public Meeting of Parliament (Sept 19 2022), President of Parliament MP Grisha Heyliger-Marten abruptly adjourned the meeting, convened to ratify the payment of civil servants’ vacation pay and begin the removal of the 12.5% cuts imposed on civil servants.
MP Heyliger-Marten’s action came after learning of the proposal to thank her for serving as Chair and relieve her of her duties. The decision to change the Chairperson resulted from MP Heyliger-Marten’s reluctance to agree to work with all members of the Coalition. These very members form a majority that appoints the President of Parliament.
According to members of the United People’s Party/National Alliance UP/NA Coalition, the recent walkout on Parliament by MP Heyliger-Marten is consistent with challenges they have faced when attempting to discuss matters regarding Governing the Country.
MP Heyliger-Marten openly objected to supporting the expanded UP/NA Coalition she was once part of as a member of the UP Party because she was unwilling to work with the two last MPs to sign the coalition agreement (MP Chanel Brownbill and MP Akeem Arrindell).
Leader of the United People’s Party MP Rolando Brison said he tried for several months to delay the removal of his colleague MP in favour of a more amicable solution despite the risk for instability it would cause.
“I have exhausted every form of communication personally, with messages, emails and meetings,” said MP Brison. Despite sticking to his agreements as requested to improve himself, MP Heyliger Heyliger-Marten cut off communication with her Party Leader. He explained that both himself and MP Heyliger-Marten agreed that he would step down as Chair temporarily to allow himself time for reflection and improvement, which I did to the satisfaction of the vast majority of the UP board, UP MP’s and Minister and other party supporters.
“The time has long passed when I should have gone back to the position, but I chose to leave MP Heyliger-Marten in as Chair. I only requested that she continue supporting the Coalition, and I agreed to assist her where necessary.
MP Brison said, “When it became clear that MP Heyliger-Marten was not willing to support the Coalition and was actually “fuelling the flames of the opposition”, the UP/NA Coalition members decided they could not continue with her as Chair. The Chairperson must be a Member of Parliament committed to working with one another as a coalition. ”
The President of Parliament position is for an individual Member of Parliament that commits to being part of a majority that supports the Coalition in Government. “I tried several times to get MP Heyliger-Marten to listen to reason, but she has refused to work with me as Leader of the UP Party,” said Brison.
“The fact is, going in the direction MP Heyliger-Marten wants the UP to go to, would result in the Government falling. This instability would bring an abrupt end to all of the ongoing hard work of the present Government, including UP Party Minister Omar Ottley, who currently holds two Ministries and is performing irrefutably well to the benefit of our people. She refused to step aside. Therefore, the Coalition decided the best course of action was to thank MP Heyliger-Marten for serving as President of Parliament and relieve her of her duty.
Whether we agree or disagree, MP Heyliger-Marten would have my full support on matters relating to the public good as a member of the UP Party. My efforts to get her to listen to reason and work as part of a team will never end.”
Brison said, “Ultimately, as Leader of the Party, I would not allow a member of another party to reprimand and remove my MP, but I also have a responsibility to think of the greater good for the Country. A tough decision that can only fall on the party’s leader.”
He said it was not an easy decision to request the proposal himself, “especially considering the person whom I admire and care about being on the receiving end,”
Brison expressed concern that the instability painted a discouraging picture of St. Maarten for investors and the rest of the world and lamented the need to put aside personal agendas to deliver on the promises made to the people. He also thinks that the MP putting her wishes ahead of handling the civil servants’ legislation that would begin to reverse the 12.5% salary cuts is a bridge too far. “What should be treated as an internal matter is now affecting the people of the Country,” said Brison.
“We suffered through Hurricane Irma, COVID-19 and the closure of business. To ask anyone to risk the Government’s fall and create further instability to keep one MP in the position of Chair of Parliament is unreasonable. We must put St. Maarten first. ”
MP Brison went on to say said he respects MP Heyliger-Marten’s decision not to want to work with particular coalition members. However, once she makes that choice, it would have been best to step down from a position that was appointed by the coalition members who vote for the Chair of Parliament. “But I also have to respect the position of the other members of the Coalition. After three months of trying to find a solution to this situation, I accepted that I had exhausted all options. “Unfortunately, it had to be done.” And I decided it would be best for such a motion to come from myself and not have another MP handle something that is a portfolio of the UP,” says MP Brison.