Minister Lake: Marlin wanted Emilio Wilson documents burnt “An independent investigation is warranted”

POSTED: 03/12/14 6:50 PM

St. Maarten – In the escalating battle of words over the Emilio Wilson Estate saga and its fate, Minister of Public Housing and Spatial Planning Maurice Lake took note of statements made by the former Minister of VROMI William Marlin yesterday and shot back.

“Firstly, I have been empowered by Council of Ministers to sign on behalf of the Council the draft Emilio Wilson Estate agreement in compliance with the court decision and this was done yesterday,” Minister Lake disclosed.

Minister Lake added that he wants a full investigation by the Foundation Governments Accountants Bureau (SOAB) into the Emilio Wilson Estate saga, adding that he is sure the Integrity Committee would also be interested in looking at the process that has been followed with respect to the purchasing of the estate.

“I have nothing to hide or to brush under the mat.  In my back to basics approach I have been open and transparent from day one.  Just before going to the House of Parliament to answer questions from Members of Parliament about the Emilio Wilson Estate on Thursday, March 6, the so-called letter of agreement regarding the government’s decision to purchase the estate could not be found at the Documents/Records Information Management (DIV), Ministry of General Affairs.

“At DIV all official government correspondence is booked in and registered so you have a paper trail on the procedures and processes that were followed as part of the good governance process.  All of a sudden the letter surfaces on Monday, March 10, and the former Minister of VROMI William Marlin presents it to the media.  The question has to be asked, where was the letter all the time?

“I am not into playing any games where it concerns the people’s business.  My mother always said, be a leader and not a follower. Tell the truth and do not be a puppet for anybody. Advice and strength I derive from the man above, the Almighty.  The former minister can continue to blow hot air, but the people have the right to know and I am not into playing petty politics like he is.

“There are three sides to this matter, William Marlin side, Maurice Lake side and the truth.  Well, I am open and willing for an SOAB investigation so they can follow the paper trail regarding this matter and let the truth come out on what transpired and if proper procedures were followed,” Minister Maurice Lake said yesterday.

Minister Lake showed a 25+ pound white paper bag yesterday that was found in the government building when he became Minster, with a paper on top of it written, “to be burnt.” Minister Lake says the bag contained a host of documents about the Emilio Wilson Estate among other documents about other matters.

“I don’t have any butter on my head, and I want the people of this country to know the truth.  When I became Minister, we came across this white paper bag full of copies of government documents and many about the Emilio Wilson Estate.  From the documents found in this bag we were able to derive some information with respect to the estate which sent up some red flags.

“The letter of agreement on the Prime Minister’s letterhead, which all of a sudden surfaces on Monday, did not reflect the previous Council of Ministers decision as noted in the minutes, and therefore it wasn’t approved by the Council of Ministers (COM).

“The COM decision was to purchase 360,000 square meters at $45 per square meter for a sum of $16.2 million.  The letter of agreement that surfaced on Monday made mention of an area of 370,000 square meters which is 10,000 square meters extra for the sum of $17 million.  We have to question on whose authority did the former Minister of VROMI William Marlin act with respect to the additional 10,000 square meters?  That means an additional $800,000 to be paid and where would this money go?

“This is nothing about me seeing the former Minister and leader of the National Alliance as a threat.  It’s all about the people’s business, openness and transparency, procedures and doing things by the book. In order to bring clarity to the Emilio Wilson Estate saga, an independent investigation is warranted and is in the interests of integrity and good governance,” Minister Lake pointed out.

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