PHILIPSBURG–The draft law to establish an Integrity Chamber for the country will be up for approval in Parliament today, Wednesday. Deliberations with caretaker Prime Minister Rafael Boasman in Parliament House are scheduled to start at 2:00pm.
This is the second time a law of this nature has come to the legislature. The first, passed in 2015, was sent to the dustbin by the Constitutional Court after the Ombudsman cited its going against the Constitution especially regarding the right to privacy.
The new draft omits all sections struck down by the Constitutional Court. Members of Parliament have already reviewed the law in a Central Committee meeting last week and are now called to approval it.
If approved, the law will not go into effect immediately. It will first be sent to the Ombudsman for her to ensure there is no constitutional breach. This is standard procedure for all laws passed by Parliament. This process can take up to six weeks.
The adoption of law is one of two conditions set by the Dutch Government for the release of 550 million euros in recovery aid following Hurricane Irma, a category five-plus storm that slammed into the country on September 6.
The Hague wants the law in place as a guarantee that the funds sent will be properly spent. However, some Members of Parliament have argued prior to and in the recent Central Committee sitting that the tying of the law to the recovery funds is simply a way for The Hague to get what it has always wanted: a firmer grip on St. Maarten.
The “magic eight,” as the now-opposition MPs refer to the members of the current coalition of eight, have indicated that they will support the law.
Following the tabling of the law by Boasman this afternoon, MPs will get to question him on its contents and, depending on the number of questions, the legislature may go over to a vote as early as this evening.
The session is open to the public and will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, Pearl Radio FM 98.1, SXMGOV Radio 107.9FM,
www.sxmparliament.org and Facebook.com/Parliament of Sint Maarten.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/71822-integrity-chamber-law-up-for-approval-today