PHILIPSBURG:--- Democratic Member of Parliament Sarah Wescot Williams has dispatched a letter to the Council of Ministers through the chair of Parliament on the draft integrity law that was discusses last week in a central committee of parliamemt. Below is press release from the DP MP along with the letter sent to the Government of St. Maarten.
Much of the past weeks has been spent deliberating the draft national ordinance to establish an integrity chamber for St. Maarten.
While some have argued against this draft ordinance (law), stating to be in favor of our "own thing", fact is that the draft as presented to Parliament and dealt with in central committee meetings of Parliament is "our own".
It is totally up to the Parliament of St. Maarten to reject, amend and or pass this law, if a majority of the 15 members wishes to do so.
The draft ordinance establishing an integrity chamber for St. Maarten has undergone the various stages of legislation; council of advice, central committee of Parliament, amendments by government etc.
A public meeting of Parliament is next, during which ultimately it will be decided whether Parliament (a majority) is for or against an integrity chamber for St. Maarten, established by the Parliament of St. Maarten.
On behalf of the Democratic Party faction, I have made my position on this matter crystal clear. An integrity chamber, yes, but the draft put before Parliament needs to be seriously tweaked.
In addition to my deliberations in Parliament on the subject, I have submitted to the government, my specific proposals for changes to the draft.
During the debates in Parliament, members of Parliament were admonished by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice to "do the right thing" and approve the integrity chamber by means of a St. Maarten law, before the integrity chamber is rammed down our throats by means of a Kingdom Decree, which in fact is a measure of higher supervision, imposed on the government of St. Maarten.
Additionally, the 2 ministers emphasized the need for urgency in handling the draft St. Maarten ordinance, as the deadline loomed for the Council of State in the Netherlands to render its advice on the proposed higher supervision measure.
The Minister of Justice is traveling to the Netherlands this weekend to be heard by that Council of State on the measure of higher supervision.
What I had to learn from media reports regretfully, is that since last week Thursday, the very same Council of State has asked the Government that the Parliament of St. Maarten holds off on voting on (passing) the St. Maarten law on the integrity chamber.
Mind you, the central committee of Parliament met on Monday last week. The results of that meeting and the statements by members of Parliament are public knowledge.
The request by the Council of State in the Netherlands should have immediately upon receipt been communicated to THE PARLIAMENT of St. Maarten. After all, only the Parliament can hold off from voting on the law, unless the government retracts its draft law.
I am curious as to this request from the Council of State, given that the Government of St. Maarten was supporting just the opposite. The government of St. Maarten wanted the Parliament to pass this integrity law post haste.
I guess we will have to await Monday to see what strategy (pass or not pass) will be advantageous to the country St. Maarten.
See also attached my proposals for amendments to the draft national ordinance to establish an integrity chamber on St. Maarten.
Click here to view the letter sent to the Government with various proposals on the integrity chamber.
DP Press Release