~Opposition left the Chair Hanging by walk-out. MP Jules James credentials vetted.~
PHILIPSBURG: --- Members of Parliament from the opposition benches finally got the attention of the chair of parliament MP Sarah Wescott Williams whom they said tried to trample on democracy and mislead the Governor by sending a letter and the credentials of incoming MP Jules James to the Governor last week.
MP William Marlin former Prime Minister of St. Maarten in his presentation called out the chair for the way she has been carrying out the business of the people in parliament. Marlin said the chair willfully tried to mislead the Governor of St. Maarten by sending a letter to him informing him that the credentials of incoming MP Jules James were vetted in a meeting of parliament when there was no meeting but a gathering. In her letter, Marlin said there was no quorum and there was no public meeting last week but a gathering. “Your letter to the Governor states that in complying with article 122 of the electoral ordinance. This is an attempt to trample on the democracy of this country, had the governor not awake then this fastball the chair tried to pull would have gone through. One would think the governor was meddling in the affairs of parliament but thankfully he was awake then this would have gone through bear in mind that governor must sign off on all the laws approved by the parliament of St. Maarten including the national budget and he has to ensure proper procedures are being followed when parliament takes decisions.”
“The chair believes that she can call up of up any three MPs even if they are part of the coalition supporting the government and have them vet credentials and sent to the governor. Had this gone through this would have been a bad example since MPs are legislators and if they cannot uphold the rules of order and the Constitution of the Country then who else would.?
MP Marlin said that the members of parliament from the opposition benches have requested several meetings which had to be called within 14 days and it has been months now and no meeting have been called.
Marlin said that these meetings had to do with the Minister of TEATT who fired a staff member and The Minister of VROMI who got himself into some legal wrangle due to drunk driving.
MP Brison also lambasted the chair telling her a fish rots from the head down and her dealings in parliament are not at according to procedures. Brison said had the opposition not taken a stance to send a strong message to the chair and to also get the attention of the people then the illegalities committed by the chair would continue.
“Can you imagine if the Governor had sworn in MP Jules James and then the Ombudsman and the constitutional court had gotten involved and probably overturn the swearing in of the MP. I can clearly say that the opposition members of parliament saved parliament and the incoming MP from international embarrassment.
Brison further stated that several meetings regarding key issues were requested and not called those include the dump, the New General Hospital Construction, tax reform and relief, Bearing Point Contract that was awarded by the Minister of Finance, Ennia, and the Mullet Bay issues, Way forward with the nonattendance to Parlatino. The CRS and FATCA laws from finance still public meeting must be called for a vote (the deadline for this was since January 1st while St. Maarten risks being blacklisted. The loss of taxes from Airbnb.
The UPS MP also highlighted the way the chair treats Members of Parliament when they want to make a point of order and notification. He said the chair has been abusing her power since she does requests points of order during the TEATT committee meetings, while she took over 4 minutes to address an issue regarding her person.
Vetting of Credentials.
After the presentation, the chair did the procedure over by establishing a committee with MPs Franklin Meyers, Silveria Jacobs and Frans Richardson who vetted the credentials. The committee found that the incoming MP should provide the census registration even though he was a Member of Parliament in the past. The committee members noted that it must be established if the member ever wrote out of St. Maarten or if he or she is still registered as a resident of the country.
MP William Marlin also informed the chair who said the law allows the MP to not provide a census registration since was already a Member of Parliament.
Chair of the Committee MP Franklin Meyers informed the chair that he would send the findings in a written report. It should be noted that in the incoming Member of Parliament Jules James holds dual citizenship as he is also the holder of a French Passport. James was a resident of St. James Marigot while he is holder of a Dutch passport and also has a residential address on the Dutch side of the island.
The chairlady of parliament Sarah Wescott Williams tried to clarify some of the accusations levied against her prior to closing off the public meeting but members of parliament from the opposition benches that gave the governing coalition a quorum would not have it and as such MP Frans Richardson called the chair to order and asked for a roll call by which time all MPs from the National Alliance (NA) and United PSt Maarten Peoples Party (USP walked out of the meeting leaving the chairlady hanging and forcing her to adjourn the meeting without closing it due to the lack of a quorum.