Vromi-Minister Lake attacks his predecessor over Emilio Wilson Estate

POSTED: 03/11/14 12:34 AM

“Marlin left a mess and  we have to clean it up”

St. Maarten – Vromi-Minister Maurice Lake says his predecessor William Marlin is making false statements in a press release he sent to the media on Friday.

Minister Lake said he met with his legal team today to review the steps he needs to take to comply with the court decision that obliges the government to buy the Emilio Wilson estate and to avoid any additional claims on the people of the country. Government will also look at the six hectares of the estate that was part of Marlin’s deal to be developed by a developer.

“I would like to address some points of the former Minister to set the record straight. I am in full support of purchasing the people’s patrimony. It is a historical site and part of our heritage and has to be protected for generations to enjoy in a sustainable manner.  I can assure the people of this country that the Emilio Wilson Estate will be purchased for the people,” Lake stated.

“National Alliance leader William Marlin is throwing up smoke screens to hide his irresponsible decision-making that has the country in limbo at this moment because the government does not have the money – 30 million guilders ($17 million) – to purchase the Emilio Wilson Estate. We have a court decision that says we have to comply with the draft agreement signed by Marlin,” Lake continued.

“William Marlin left a mess with a 30 million-guilders debt and now we have to clean it up.  I am not surprised by the National Alliance tactics to try and fool the people with old petty politics with a lot of lies,” Lake said. “The Emilio Wilson Estate is the people’s patrimony indeed. It is part of our heritage, but the former Minister agreed to give six hectare of the estate to a developer to build houses.”

“The people are fed up with this way of politicking and games. The people expect those appointed at the Council of Ministers level to follow proper procedures as part of good governance. During the parliamentary debate last Thursday I spoke from the heart and presented the facts as they are, in an open and transparent manner,” Lake fumed.

The minister stated furthermore that his primary focus is “on handling the people’s business and moving forward based on the procedures and processes that are in place. It is a back to basics approach, if you don’t follow the laws of the land then you will end up saddling the people of this country with huge debts, and who will then bail us out?”

Minister Lake said his focus is now complying with the court’s decision on signing the Emilio Wilson Estate draft agreement keeping the interests of the people and country in mind.

“As the responsible Minister of Vromi I am now responsible for pulling the country out of this 30 million guilders debt left behind by the former Minister.”

Lake said that his Secretary General is currently off island on vacation and that he therefore could not be present for the parliament meeting on Thursday; Acting Secretary General Sandro Garcia was present.

“I had a competent cabinet staff and representatives from the Ministry present to address whatever questions were asked. The former minister should not try to belittle competent people due to the mess he left behind. I fully agree with the judge when he said in his ruling that government should hold ministers liable for any irresponsible decisions that they take leaving the people of this country, the tax payer holding the bag of debt,” Minister Lake stated.

“The former Minister of Vromi should apologize to the people of the country for his bad decision-making, instead of throwing up a smoke screen to hide his inadequacies in his leadership and decision-making,” Lake said. “The former Minister should have been open and transparent with his former coalition partners in the NA-led government because they were left in the dark.”

The government has two other court cases against the former Minister of Vromi. “Prior to that there was the milled asphalt (from the airport – ed.), the sand issue and the land issue and now the Emilio Wilson Estate as well as some other cases still pending,” Minister Lake pointed out.


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