>Philipsburg St. Maarten, January 18, 2019 – “I wish to again congratulate all of the persons who contributed to the success of the Interparliamentary Kingdom Consultations (IPKO) held on St. Maarten during the week of January 7th, 2019. Nonetheless the debate continues with the question, does IPKO have any added value? I believe it does.” stated President of Parliament, Sarah Wescot-Williams.
The IPKO, formerly under different names, dates back prior to Suriname’s independence in 1975. “So, the fact that after so many years, the desire to come together as Parliaments of the three, then two, then three again and now four countries, is still shared, should tell you something. Of course much time has passed and like everything else the IPKO too is evolving. However, it was and remains no more than a consultative body of Members of Parliaments. Can parties reach agreements? Of course and over the years we have seen these discussions sometimes resulting in action by factions and or members of the Dutch Chambers (“van Oven law”, only recently adopted, “Motion van Laar, etc),” the Chairlady further stated.
“Nevertheless, we as Parliamentarians ought to know that any act coming out of these Interparliamentary consultations is voluntary. We ought to know, that jump high or low, Kingdom laws which affect all of us, can only pass or fail in the Dutch chambers.
Whether we submit a draft via Government, read Minister Plenipotentiary, or propose amendments or motions, the fate of these rests in the hands of the Dutch Members of Parliament – period!” she continued.
She mentioned that her approach as the delegation leader and host of the recent IPKO “had nothing to do with saving face, but all to do with recognizing that crying over spilt milk, will not get us any closer to a dispute regulation; will not get us any closer to a solution for the democratic deficit, in other words a Government with no parliamentary control. That’s what the Kingdom government is!”
Wescot-Williams concluded, “but then again, all politics are local and even the IPKO delegations consist of coalition and opposition Parliamentarians. Some delegations are better able to present a united front than others. But political undertones are ever present.
In the end, however, whatever plays out in IPKO, remember we are equal partners in an unequal system. Our approach therefore should always be with our end goal in mind, whether that is a dispute regulation, help with the fallout of the Venezuelan situation for the Caribbean Countries, a different take on the World Bank, you name it”.