“This is now a matter of principle”
St. Maarten News – Citizen Lisa Alexander is not finished with her crusade against the December 14 national decree that sets the election date at September 26. Last week, the Constitutional Court declared it has no jurisdiction over a petition Alexander submitted. Yesterday she sent a letter to Governor Drs. Eugène Holiday with a copy to the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. In it, Alexander asks for “your urgent assistance and show of commitment to the restoration and protection of the integrity of the constitution of our beloved Country Sint Maarten.”
Alexander said yesterday that she is aware that her initiative will not turn back the clock and make elections happen on February 9. “It is now a matter of principle,” she said.
The core of Alexander’s argument, after hitting a blank wall in the Constitutional Court, remains unchanged. She argues that the December 14 national decree only went into effect when the previous decree of October 29, 2015, had already gone into effect. That decree set the election date for February 9.
In her letter to the governor, Alexander addresses what she considers a violation of the constitution. Failure to implement the October 29 decree, she wrote, “will not only result in the violation of articles 59 and 23, tampering with the fundamental rights of the people to vote but also article 48 by not allowing the citizens to elect new members of parliament.”
(Article 59 regulates the dissolution of parliament; article 23 establishes the right to vote and article 48 states that members of parliament shall be elected directly by inhabitants of Sint Maarten who have reached the age of 18).
“You can be held accountable under article 43 of the Kingdom Charter and article 25 of national decree 340, kingdom law of July 7, 2010 (regulation for the governor) and articles 355 and 356 of the Dutch code of criminal law,” Alexander wrote to the governor. “The integrity of the Constitution of St. Maarten you swore to uphold and protected is being violated.”
The letter proves a precise explanation of the articles it refers to.
Alexander maintains that the declaration that the national decree of December 14 went into effect on the moment of signing (on December 14) violates article 89 of the constitution, though this could be an error.
Article 89 deals with national ordinances: “The publication and commencement date of national ordinances shall be regulated by national ordinance. They shall not take effect until they have been published.”
The December 14 document is however a national decree – not a national ordinance.
Alexander further points out that the October 29 national decree “has met the constitutionally mandated requirements and should be implemented “as is.” However, her letter continues, “if government randomly decides not to implement the requirements of this decree, you are charged with the responsibility to find out why and also charged with the responsibility for correcting the situation as the head of government.”
Lastly, Alexander points out that the governor has sworn to uphold the constitution.
Source: Today SXM Lisa Alexander takes her fight to Governor Holiday