SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – In a recent statement, United Democrats (UD) Leader Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams stated that “it’s imperative that the Parliament of St. Maarten verbalizes its position regarding this new entity very clearly. It is one thing to argue the point of autonomy and autonomous competencies of the Dutch Caribbean countries, it’s another thing to dissect the proposal as to its workability in our democratic system. Democracy is the hallmark of our system, so is the state of law. This entity as proposed puts all that aside and I am sure our colleagues in the Hague can relate to this argument.”
The MP recently requested a Parliamentary Meeting of the Committee for Kingdom Relations, to contemplate how to move forward as Parliament.
“After rejecting the New Entity draft law in its present form, we should table our position where this law will eventually be decided on, namely in the Dutch First and Second Chambers.
For it to formally reach there, there must be consensus, but this proposal is already at the Second Chamber and the debate regarding these conditions, especially the CRE, is raging.
The opinions and legal briefs on this topic are many, most of them very critical of the proposed entity. Most opinions consider this proposal a serious intrusion into the autonomous affairs of the countries, which is a valid assessment. I however take this proposal from a different angle and that is the one of the democratic state of law, in which the Government is responsible for its people and accountable to its Parliament. Constitutional representative democracy! The proposal for a CRE wipes that democratic tenet out.”, the MP continued.
The conditions imposed by the Government of the Netherlands form part of a package of reform and creation of a so-called Caribbean Reform entity. The Parliament has been made aware of the negotiations between the Caribbean countries of the Dutch Kingdom and the Government of the Netherlands. Currently these negotiations are at the point of a third tranche of liquidity assistance, much needed by the Caribbean countries.
“Like I have stated on several occasions, it is the Dutch Government’s money and if we accept it, we need to agree on what it is for and give account for it. But to move the governance of the country outside of the democratic sphere of ‘by the people, for the people’, which I believe the new entity is doing, is turning back the hand of time. I think our colleagues in the Hague, elected as we are, cannot and should not even entertain such a proposal. The Dutch Chambers have the possibility to request advice from the Council of State (their equivalent to our Council of Advice). I implore my Dutch colleagues to timely seek this advice.” MP Wescot-Williams further stated.
The MP has proposed for a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee for Kingdom Relations to meet on the following action points: 1) a tripartite meeting of the Dutch Caribbean Countries; 2) consultations with factions and or members of the First and Second Chambers, as agreed to during the last IPKO; and 3) formally meeting with the Kingdom Government and the Dutch Chambers.
“Let it be clear however, that this does not relieve the Government of its responsibilities to act in the interest of the people of St. Maarten when deciding on the way forward. If these conditions are rejected by the government, the people should know what the alternative is. Alluding to something in the pipeline is not enough. Not when so much is at stake for our country. We can no longer accept that the government is doing all it can with the means it has and that we should be patient. Overall, the uncertainty and the lack of direction, is taking a massive toll on even the most resilient ones among us.” MP Wescot-Williams opined in closing.