Christophe Emmanuel: Emmanuel won’t sign if MPs-elect don’t
sign charter pledging to not ‘jump ship’~Preference was to go with US Party~
PHILIPSBURG–Re-elected National Alliance (NA) Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel on Monday made it clear that he will not be signing the NA/United People’s (UP) party coalition agreement if the nine coalition MPs-elect do not sign a “charter” document indicating that they pledge to not break up government over the four-year governing period.
He also made clear that him not signing does not mean that he will be leaving the NA or jumping ship. Emmanuel was at the time speaking on a radio interview “Twelve to one talk with Fernando Clark” on SOS Radio 95.9FM.
His preference was for the NA, which secured six seats in the January 9, snap parliamentary elections, to team up with the United St. Maarten (US) Party led by Frans Richardson, who lost his seat at the polls. Emmanuel said, however, that the majority chose otherwise. His primary reasons for wanting to team up with US Party is because NA and US Party have formed governing coalitions in the past and now it is being “kicked to the curb.”
“Every time National Alliance got into office and got to govern it was possible because of the (US Party.) Every time. It’s not a question. It’s about facts because the National Alliance has never received 8 seats. We have never got an outright majority of 8 seats. We have always ridden in depending on the (US Party.) Whether it was 8 seats or not, who has always been there with us, next to us, standing with us, fighting with us, fall with us – was the (US Party),” Emmanuel said, adding that his discussion with NA was why the party “doesn’t even want a conversation,” or weigh its options with the US Party, given that it is in a position of strength.
Emmanuel said he did not understand the rush to sign a coalition agreement. After evaluating and re-evaluating the issue, Emmanuel and his team came up with a five-point “charter” document that he wants the nine other MPs-elects of the NA and UP to sign. He only elaborated on one of the five points on radio, which is a statement requiring the nine other MP-elects to “pledge to the people of St. Maarten” not to break up government or jump ship, enabling the coalition to govern for four years. He also gave a brief indication that another point was regarding the invoking of Article 59 of the Constitution to dissolve the legislature.
Emmanuel’s conditions in the charter can be attached to the coalition agreement signed on Saturday evening. He said the pledge is a tool by which the electorate can hold signatories accountable.
Emmanuel said the charter document was not discussed with his party before he made the public announcement on radio and he did not feel it was necessary to discuss it with his party because he wanted to come to the people of St. Maarten first. He plans to present his conditions to the coalition. “Ten seats, I have seen it fall. This document is not about my party. It’s about the people of St. Maarten. I am saying it now to the people of St. Maarten. I don’t have to present it first to my party because it is about the nine individuals who have signed the document, that they will work together.”
It is only if this document is signed, he said, will he affix his signature to the coalition agreement. “You want Emmanuel’s signature affixed. I will do it today… Sign this document. Then I am going to put my signature and I expect to be there for four years,” he said. “You pledge that you are not going to throw down this government. Pledge to the people of St. Maarten that you will maintain stability. Make that pledge to St. Maarten,” he added, noting that pledges of allegiance are made to the King and Queen and one can now be made to the local electorate.
“I am not going to sign a document just to go along so I can get along. I am not going to do that. Sometimes it’s better to walk alone than to follow a crowd going in the wrong direction.”
When asked by a listener, about becoming an independent parliamentarian if others refuse to sign his document, Emmanuel said he has no intentions of going independent. “I never said I am jumping ship or going anywhere, but I will not just sign a document for signing it sake… I (did not) sign on to the coalition agreement, but I am not leaving the National Alliance. I am not pulling my support from the National Alliance. I am simply saying that this document (coalition agreement) is not proof enough that the members (will) not pull their support.”
Emmanuel said also that his decision does not mean that he has anything against the four UP MPs elect. He said he will work with them if he needs to. He said also that he had visited the home of UP founder and former leader Theo Heyliger -whom he only mentioned by his last name- to, among other things, “get his perspective” and to let him know that his position “was not personal.”