St. Maarten – The national decree to dissolve the parliament and to call elections for February 9 of next year contains – between the lines – severe criticism of the way politicians have behaved during the past five years. “The continuous changes are reason enough to call new elections,” the decree concludes after an extensive description of the changing of the guards that have taken place since 10-10-10.
“Immediately after the last elections persons who were elected to parliament split from the party with which they participated in the elections and established themselves as independent Members of Parliament,” is the first consideration in the decree.
“Currently again several parliamentarians have canceled their confidence in the government – without prior debate or any further motivation.” This consideration continues pointing out that two members left their party (Maurice Lake and Silvio Matser) thereby creating “a balance that diverges from the result of the elections.”
The decree then notes: “Since 10-10-10 on average every year a new government had to be formed due to splintering.
Furthermore, the document notes that the governing accord had to be renegotiated several times after the elections every time the makeup of the coalition changed. “This way a sustainable majority in parliament cannot be guaranteed,” the decree states.
The next consideration is that the continuous changes offer insufficient guarantees whether a subsequent cabinet will be able to count on the support of a majority in parliament. “It is necessary, also in this governing period to take far-reaching decision in the financial-economic field and about the integrity of public administration. Such decision can only be taken in an administrative stable climate that appears from an unequivocal mandate from the electorate.”
The decree also contains references to the integrity reports of the Wit-Committee, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Transparency International, “They show that the phenomenon of defecting parliamentarians has seriously negative consequences for the integrity and the quality of the administration.”
For the reputation of St. Maarten in the region and the international context, for the development of our democracy and the continuity of the governance of St. Maarten it is not desirable to let this situation continue,” the decree states.
“A representation of the people has only reason to exist as long as it has the support of the electorate, the decree continues. “Considering the continues changing balance, there is reason to give the voters the opportunity to make a clear statement whether the Members of Parliament, who act on their own in the execution of their duties, still have enough confidence of the voters.”
After this emphasis on the confidence-issue, this time directed at the Members of Parliament and not at the members of the Gumbs cabinet, the decree closes with the consideration: “That the government is convinced that the governing policy it has executed up to now, serves the general interest and the wellbeing of the population.”