MP Silvio Matser (second right) in discussion with other MPs making up the governing Coalition of Eight. United St. Maarten Party leader MP Frans Richardson, who is also part of the Coalition, was not present for today’s deliberations.
PHILIPSBURG–Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Silvio Matser was back at work in Parliament today, Thursday, after spending two weeks in restrictive custody of the National Detectives in the ongoing Octopus investigation into alleged election fraud (vote buying) in the August 2014 Parliamentary Elections.
Matser’s release aided in the passing of the 2016 budget. The budget was adopted by eights votes reflecting the seven MPs of the Coalition of Eight and one vote from United People’s (UP) party of MP Dr. Lloyd Richardson. This is not the first time MP Dr Richardson has crossed to aisle to vote on a budget. He had done the same some three years ago when he was an opposition MP with the National Alliance.
Matser was released from custody Wednesday afternoon. His release triggered the swift reconvening of the plenary session of Parliament to handle the 2016 draft budget. The convocation for the session was sent to MPs just before 5:00pm on Wednesday.
Without Matser, the governing Coalition of Eight had been short one member for a quorum to convene a meeting without aid of the opposition MPs bloc referred to as the “Super Seven.” Also, the Coalition of Eight did not have sufficient votes to pass the budget, because both sides of the aisle accounted for seven MPs thus seven votes each.