PHILIPSBURG – A report from the Committee for Electoral Reform is expected this week, disclosed Prime Minister William Marlin.
“The report I was told is final. They are busy tweaking it and probably re-writing some passages, I don’t know. But I am expected to be handed the report this week. A report would not contain any draft legislation to make any amendments, but the report would be on the report on what they would have received thus far on which direction they think government would go or should go,” Prime Minister Marlin said at the weekly Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday, March 9.
The Prime Minister further disclosed that the Netherlands stands ready to assist St. Maarten in making the necessary constitutional changes to fix this problem of “ship jumping.” He said: “One of the discussions when I was in The Netherlands with Piet Hein Donner, the Chairman of the Council of Advice, he said as soon as we have something, send it even before we submit it officially, so that their legal people can start looking at it because they want to work with St. Maarten to speed up the process if necessary.”
Interestingly, Marlin spoke of the view posited in the public that ship jumping is not allowed by the constitution and there is no need for constitutional reform. According to this view, the legal interpretation of the constitution is that Members of Parliament when elected are representing a party and not themselves individually. In the event they disagree with the position of the party, they cannot become an independent candidate and withdraw their support from the government. Instead, they must resign from the parliament. That Member of Parliament also has the option of promoting a motion of no confidence against the government, at which point fresh elections may be held.
“If this is something we can say hey, eureka, we have found the solution, then we do not need to go through the process of making changes to the constitution, but we would have to basically adapt the manner in which we have been interpreting the constitution,” the Prime Minister stated.
Source: 721 news Prime Minister expects electoral reform report this week