PHILIPSBURG – The meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee of Integrity of Parliament did not proceed last Thursday, April 6, due to a lack of quorum. This committee consists of the faction leaders in Parliament. The Chairlady of Parliament also chairs the Integrity Committee.
In a previous meeting of the Integrity Committee, the Chairlady had proposed an agenda consisting of: a code of conduct for MPs; the various integrity reports conducted on St. Maarten as far as they regard the Parliament of St. Maarten, and a proposal for a permanent Integrity Committee of Parliament.
The Chairlady in her presentation in February’s meeting, reiterated that codes of conduct are standard in many organizations, including Parliaments all over the world. Also several topics for codes of conduct of Parliaments are quite common. These are: financial disclosure, registration of gifts, side jobs, just to name a few.
“The Integrity Committee of Parliament has to recommend to Parliament how we see these matters being addressed in a code of conduct. For example, what would financial disclosure entail and where would this information be kept? (In the case of ministers, this ‘filing’ is kept in a registry.) What jobs/positions could be considered incompatible with the position of (full-time) parliamentary membership?” the Chairlady stated.
“A code of conduct for Parliament is a form of ‘self-policing.’ Together we agree to subscribe to certain actions, behaviors, rules, etc.,” she said.
For the adjourned meeting last week, a draft of a code of conduct was presented to members. The discussions on this matter go back to June 2016, when it was decided that the Ad hoc Integrity committee would “research and formulate a code of conduct for Parliament.”
“Given the many discussions in the Ad hoc Committee on this topic, my intention is now to table this proposal in a Central Committee meeting of Parliament to afford every member the opportunity to express his or herself on the topic and take it from there,” the Chairlady concluded.