St.maarten – What should have been a solemn closure of the 2015-2016 parliamentary year became another confrontation between the chairlady of parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams and independent MP Cornelius de Weever, while UP faction leader Franklin Meyers warned that politicians threaten to become targets instead of leaders.
When Wescot-Williams was the last one to take the floor during the meeting, De Weever interrupted her with a point of order, suggesting that MP George Pantophlet chair the meeting while Wescot-Williams spoke.
“MP de Weever, you should not interrupt a discourse such as this with a point of order. Since this is not our customary meeting I am addressing the floor of parliament from this seat,” Wescot-Williams said. After that, De Weever remained quiet, but Wescot-Williams later sent out a statement to the media calling the interruption “disrespectful and rude.”
In her address, Wescot-Williams addressed the fragmented makeup of the parliament. “Currently there are eight factions because the rules allow members who declare themselves independent to become a faction.”
Wescot-Williams spoke of “a tumultuous parliamentary year” and reflected on the 10-10-10 intention to have a separation of the executive and the legislative branch. “We have seen quite some changes of coalitions,” she said. “If we look back over the years, shifts in parliament have always led to a change in government itself.”
The chairlady, political leader of the Democratic Party, said that in the absence of legislation for electoral reform, she has put a proposal for a code of conduct for political parties on the table. The objective is “for political parties to commit themselves and give a commitment to the people of St. Maarten that they will not support or accommodate persons who leave their party in the formation of a new government. History shows that this has always been the reason for defection.”
Wescot-Williams acknowledged that her code of conduct is not foolproof. “However, where there is a will to act differently, such an opportunity will be found by those who want to act differently.”
The value of the code, she added, “Is the word of the men and the women who will, or will not, sign such a code of conduct.”
When Wescot-Williams wanted to highlight an important piece of initiative-legislation, MP de Weever, who jumped ship from the Democratic Party after the 2014 elections, interrupted her.
When Wescot-Williams continued her discourse, she referred to the proposal to expand the scope of the Constitutional Court by including conflicts between parliament and government, between ministers and between ministers and the governor. The proposal is to float this idea and ask for an advisory ruling from the Constitutional Court.
Source: Today SXM MP Meyers: “We run the risk of becoming targets”