Council of Advice not positive on expansion of Constitutional Court

PHILIPSBURG–There is no need to expand the scope of the Constitutional Court to tackle disputes between Parliament and the Council of Ministers, because there are sufficient existing institutions to handle such, the Council of Advice said in a response to an initiative draft law submitted by Democratic Party (DP) Member of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams last year.

Wescot-Williams told the press on Friday, “It was quite a lengthy response [that was -Ed.] not fully in favour of the proposal.” The Council of Advice has basically said this move “might be an overkill.”

She is not giving up. The MP, who is again serving as Parliament Chairwoman, intends to react to the advice in due course.

Also on the legislative front, Wescot-Williams intends to push for more “citizen’s initiative.” This is aimed at encouraging residents to bring laws conforming to certain still-to-be developed guidelines and standards to Parliament. The MP sees this as crucial in “raising the level of confidence” in Parliament and the legislative process as a whole.

The draft timeshare legislation is also pending approval of Parliament, as is reform of the labour laws. These are expected to be on Parliament’s agenda in the near future.

The Permanent Committees of Parliament will also be called on to get to work by Wescot-Williams once the chairpersons and vice chairpersons are officially installed later this month. The goal is to tackle all outstanding committee matters and pending draft laws or amendments that are outstanding. She will emphasize to the heads of the committees “the need to do the work” of the committees, such as tackling the financial reports.

The committees of Parliament are sort of a first step as far as matters coming to the Central Committee or public meetings of Parliament are concerned. If the committees are not up to par there, you will see a slowing down of the work of Parliament as well,” Wescot-Williams said.

The functioning and operations of the committees also must be worked out for a better streamlined procedure, she said.

Parliament will have to once again turn its attention to the 3 integrity reports on its operations and functioning, and devise a plan on how to deal with these matters, said Wescot-Williams.

One vehicle for this Parliament’s Integrity Committee and its scope of work includes setting out the parameters for the disclosure of MPs’ finances, and the regulation of whether the post of parliamentarian is a full-time or a part-time one, among other topics.

Parliament “needs to step up on the role of controlling Government and Government actions … whether you are opposition or you support the coalition, that is a critical task and we need to step up to it,” said Wescot-Williams.

The Committee for Financial Supervision CFT has expressed some reservations about the capital expenditure section of the 2017 Budget. Wescot-Williams said this will call for, as in the past, negotiations between Government and CFT about the way forward to contract loans.

“CFT and Government will have to dialogue, first of all about the amount Government is seeking, and then Government needs to be clear in terms of what projects [to pursue –Ed.], the feasibility of the projects we are seeking financing for,” she said.

On Sunday, the fraction leaders serving in the Permanent Committee for Inter-Parliamentary Affairs and Kingdom Relations head to Curaçao for the Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultation IPOK. Due to the changes in government on Curaçao and St. Maarten, and pending general elections in the Netherlands, this consultation will produce no formal resolution list, said Wescot-Williams, who will head the delegation.

In spite of the ‘no formal resolution list’, the MPs of all four countries in the Kingdom are still slated to discuss re-occurring topics, such as the dispute regulation.  

Source: The Daily Herald