PHILIPSBURG–Independence for St. Martin Foundation (ISMF) Co-Founder and President José Lake Jr. said the Foundation is encouraged by the response of Parliament about its call for a referendum on the country’s constitutional future.
“We strongly believe that Parliament will do the right thing and convene the referendum we are asking for either through the so-called initiative law or by prevailing on government to submit a draft national ordinance that would facilitate a new constitutional referendum,” Lake Jr. said.
The Foundation lobbied Parliament on Friday via a Central Committee meeting to use the provision in the Constitution to hold a referendum before the current Parliamentary term ends in 2020.
The hurdle at present to the timetable is the laws outlining the referendum process and the enforcement of the results. Either Parliament or Government has to propose draft legislation for this to occur.
Parliament is the only authority that can convene a referendum and even though a new constitutional status is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution as one of the reasons for a referendum “It is now for Parliament to do the right thing and allow the people of St. Maarten to determine their own future,” said Lake Jr.
“After all, Parliament itself exists today thanks to the constitutional referendum that was held 17 years ago,” he said, as he thanked Parliament for its continued support for the position of the Foundation in favour of independence and reiterated that the people have a right to express their views in a referendum.
“That is what we’re asking for – a referendum for the people to have their say about their own future and the future of their children and grandchildren. The fact that we have appeared before Parliament four times in one year on the same issue shows that Parliament considers the referendum an important matter,” he said.
“We will continue to urge them to do the right thing for our people who must decide on their future,” Lake Jr. said after the Central Committee meeting.