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Plasterk regrets fall of Gumbs cabinet

THE HAGUE--Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk said on Thursday that he regretted the resignation of the St. Maarten Government headed by Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs. He urged the next Government to work in the general interest.

Without wanting to become involved in local party politics, Plasterk said he regretted the resignation of the Gumbs cabinet for two reasons: the good cooperation he had with Gumbs and the fact that too many changes of Government were not good for a country.

“The basis of cooperation with Prime Minister Gumbs was good. He was able to make a strong point for St. Maarten. I had a very angry Prime Minister on the phone after the visit of Dutch National Police Chief Gerard Bouman to St. Maarten,” Plasterk told The Daily Herald in an interview on Thursday.

“Secondly, many changes of Government are not good for a country. A lot is being invested in relations, in the exchange of knowledge and in learning to appreciate one another. For instance, the gathering in New York at the United Nations this week where four Prime Ministers and the King got together. It is not a good thing for continuity when new faces show up the next time.”

Asked if there had not also been tensions with the Gumbs Government, Plasterk said this also had been the case with previous coalitions of the St. Maarten Government after the last elections. “I am merely establishing that there have been many changes of Government,” he said.

Having a Government that completes the entire governing period is in St. Maarten’s best interest, said Plasterk. “It isn’t about Government A or B. Important is that a Government for once completes its governing period. That is in the people’s best interest.”

A new Government that solely works for the general interest is also in the best interest of the people, he said: “People should be able to count on a Government that solely uses its power for the general interest and not for their own interest. That is also the basis for good governance. There can be no other interest than the general interest.”

As for the motion the St. Maarten Parliament adopted on Wednesday calling for the resignation of Attorney-General Guus Schram because of the latter’s remarks about integrity in St. Maarten, Plasterk said this was clearly a case of the division of powers, the so-called Trias Politica, which separates the Legislature (Parliament), the Executive Branch (Government) and Judiciary (Courts).

“It is not up to the Parliament to render judgement on the Attorney-General. It is up to the St. Maarten Minister of Justice to respond to the Attorney-General’s remarks. It seems clear to me that this is a case of the division of powers,” Plasterk stated.

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