PHILIPSBURG:— Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Leona Marlin-Romeo on Monday March 14th 2016, sent a letter to the President of Parliament Sarah Wescott Williams concerning the abrupt suspension of the 2016 Budget meeting on Thursday, March 10th.
The Member of Parliament questioned the Chair on whether the opportunity was given to any other Member of Parliament to support the amendments. After listening to the recording of the said meeting Independent Member of Parliament Leona Marlin-Romeo is of the opinion that the Chair suspended the meeting before allowing any other member to support the amendments.
Five amendments were proposed namely:
1. ANG 150.000, identified by the Collective Prevention Services as not being executable for the Neo Natal Screening due to the lack of funds. This screening allows doctors to detect health conditions and possibly treat them at an early stage;
2 . ANG. 250,000, identified by the Collection Prevention Services as not executable due to the lack of funds for the Outbreak Prevention program.
3 An addition of ANG, 30,000 for the Labour department to be able to cover additional Burial Costs.
4 ANG. 81,000.00 For the purchase of life insurance and specifically a disability insurance, should any uniformed officer become disabled or incapacitated in the line of duty
5 ANG. 275,000.00 for the support of the Vrijewilligers Korps (VKS).
The aforementioned amendments are budget neutral, stated the Member of Parliament as they are merely a shifting or reallocating of the allotted funds from one budget post to another, and does not affect the budget.
Additionally, the Member of Parliament requested that:
1. An educational trust fund be created for the children of uniformed/service men and women who die in the line of duty;
2. Steps be taken to lower the cost for seniors with fixed reductions in water, light, cable, medication, and the purchasing of foods.
The Member of Parliament has formerly requested a retraction of the amendments for further additions, namely
– considering that a motion was proposed for the reintroduction of mandatory military service which the Member of Parliament supports due to the visit of the VKS Open House on Sunday March 13th 2016;
– the urgent issues surrounding the production of the national identification and drivers license cards at the Civil Registry department.
For clarification, the Member is bringing this to the public’s attention as the perception is being given that the Member of Parliament is intentionally delaying the budget for personal reasons.
According to the Member of Parliament the fact remains that presently in Parliament there is a 7/7 split of members and the attention is being shifted to take the emphasis off the reality of the situation.
The Member of Parliament proposed the amendments due to the direct benefits they would have for the people of Sint Maarten, Independent MP Leona Marlin-Romeo concludes in a press statement on Monday.
Source: St. Martin News Network MP Marlin-Romeo and 2016 Budget.