PHILIPSBURG – The Laws of St. Maarten is a set of five books just published here. And the attractive, reader-friendly design publications are “going like hot bread” at Van Dorp bookstores and from the InfoMedia distributors, said Jacqueline Sample, president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).
Each volume of The Laws of St. Maarten describes the book project on its cover as, “a five-volume English ‘Translation of the Official Publication’ of the Constitution and other laws established for governing St. Maarten within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. These national ordinances, also called organic laws, were first published in Dutch following St. Maarten’s attainment of an autonomous status within the Kingdom of the Netherlands on October 10, 2010.”
InfoMedia representative Keith Franca said that the book project is the brainchild of former Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs. The veteran politician approached HNP in early 2014 about publishing the territory’s laws that were already translated from Dutch to English by the authority of government.
Based on the discussions with Gumbs, “his main concern was to have the laws easily accessible in English to the general population and schools, to the civil service corps, to business, legal, and media professionals, and to investors and the like,” said Lasana M. Sekou, projects director at HNP.
The InfoMedia Foundation picked up the project, secured the financial contribution for publication from ENNIA insurance, and worked closely with the government’s Legal Affairs Department and the publisher to realize the five volumes.
The books contain over 30 pieces of legislation, which are not exhaustive of the territory’s laws enacted by parliament. The “national ordinances” published in the five volumes include legislation on personal data protection, election, parliamentary regulations, the central bank, civil servants, the constitutional court, prosecution of political authorities, promotion of the integrity of ministers, and the audit chamber.
The Laws of St. Maarten, Volume 1 contains the “Constitution of Sint Maarten” and its full Explanatory Memorandum, which most people will be seeing for the first time, and notes, all totaling 315 pages, according to the publisher. Volume 2 totals 323 pages and volumes 3, 4, and 5 each have over 250 pages.
Franca said that half of the books were sold before they were printed. He credits his colleagues such as Eugene James, but especially Gumbs for raising the early awareness and the ongoing demand for The Laws of St. Maarten.
The price of the five-book set at the Van Dorp bookstores in Madame Estate and Simpson Bay is US $55, based on $11 per volume, said Franca.