PHILIPSBURG:--- “I had hoped that Monday, July 4th would be a day of revelations, after the sequence of events, which started on June 29th with a public meeting of parliament. Public meetings of parliament have become a rarity as these meetings are now usually called at the behest of the government”, the MP explained.
“What we see a lot of are committee meetings and while there is nothing wrong with committee meetings, the stark difference is that only in a public meeting, the so-called OVs, can parliament's decisions be made.”
“The bedrock of our system is a parliamentary democracy, coupled with the concept of ministerial responsibility, meaning the appointed ministers are accountable to parliament and the people. Anytime this accountability is being eroded, as it is now, we are heading down a slippery slope.”
In the opinion of the MP, the meeting regarding the report of the Ombudsman on the tendering and awarding of the garbage contracts warranted an urgent meeting and an urgent response by parliament. “It’s unfortunate that even in parliament, the blindness by some towards blatant wrongdoings brought into question again the role of one of our high councils of state.
“I stated during that fateful meeting of parliament that attacking any of our high councils of state, to condone questionable acts of government is wrong and undermines the very democratic foundation our system relies on. This system of checks and balances is even more important, given the dubious role some members and or factions in parliament afford themselves.”
That MP S. Ludmila Duncan decided to break with the National Alliance did not come as a surprise and she must have her reasons for doing so.
To use the MP’s resignation as a reason for what followed that day and onward is nothing short of a sham.
“The corridors of parliament are as porous as a sponge. Things said and done, so-called on the inside is outside these corridors before the words are even spoken or the ink is dried.”
Thursday last, parliament was held at bay with the meeting on labor and mental health, ironically in the absence of the MPs who requested these agenda points to begin with.
“Don’t get me wrong, there is always something to be said or queried about mental healthcare on St. Maarten. In fact, the presentation on Thursday did not in my view give the comfort of an urgent approach to this matter by the government. ‘We are working on it is the government’s usual catchphrase.”
If there is one thing that was worked on by the governing coalition on Thursday, June 30th, it was to get out a hastily put together and poorly worded agreement, trying to secure their efforts to strengthen the coalition’s dwindling numbers.
“What an embarrassment to any self-respecting government or member of parliament! Moreover, what an ill-concealed attempt to sabotage the ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, transport, and telecommunication. Of all the areas in the world, is this the ministry that the 8 members of parliament will allow to become a ping pong?”
“With the nonsensical line that “the coalition will look at the governing program and national development vision to agree on policy, legislative and executive priority areas to be addressed in the remaining term. And that the minister of TEATT will be jointly nominated by the party and the MPs Arrindell and Brownbill.”
Who could have fallen for this gimmick? MP Wescot questions. And what am I to understand from this?
“To begin with, MP Brownbill’s consent to this agreement is on shaky ground. He is deputizing for suspended MP Buncamper. Granted, deputizing can mean different things in different circumstances and this particular provision is not found in any other constitution in the Kingdom to give any direction. It was taken from the Kingdom Law on the Joint Court of Justice. But in the latter there is no reference to a deputy”, MP Wescot explains her assertion.
“It's ironic that on Thursday, June 30th, the Electoral Reform Committee of parliament discussed moving forward with electoral reform because the government -by the way, that campaigned on electoral reform- dropped this matter completely. The irony is that in my comments in that meeting, I stressed the need to address article 50 regarding dismissal and suspension of MPS as a matter of urgency.”
MP Wescot minced no words in stating: “I am utterly disappointed in the Prime Minister of St. Maarten, who for the sake of holding on to that office, accepted this type of political horse-trading. The PM knows full well that a “review of the governing program and national development vision” is misleading, as today it is all about the country package.”
“While I scoffed at the parliamentary recess, due to the many pressing matters on the table of parliament, such as the budget amendments and the salary cuts to be eliminated, it just might be a blessing in disguise.”
“I know that calling for a cabinet of professionals with clear mandates under the Prime Minister given the many crossroads we find ourselves at, is presently wishful thinking. However, suppose we really understand the socio-economic crossroads we are at. In that case, it is not too much to ask, since the position seems to be up for grabs, to consider a professional for the ministry of TEATT, MP Wescot concluded her thoughts on the events of the past days.