PHILIPSBURG–United People’s (UP) party deputy leader Member of Parliament (MP) Franklin Meyers, reacting to the Dutch Government’s expressed objections to the draft electoral law, said, “What’s important now is that the Dutch view does not affect the date of elections or the already in motion electoral process.”
“Democracy or change is with the people through an election. That right should not be stalled or impeded,” Meyers told The Daily Herald on Friday.
The Dutch Government, via Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk, expressed serious objections to the proposed change to the St. Maarten Constitution to tackle the so-called ship-jumping of local MPs. The objections were stated in a letter to St. Maarten Prime Minister William Marlin, dated June 17.
Meyers said Plasterk, when asked in the past about the process of electoral reform and government changes on St. Maarten, responded “that’s an internal matter.” The MP hopes that now the objections stated are “simply remarks, because it cannot be an instruction.”
Meyers and independent MP Leona Marlin Marlin-Romeo, both of the opposition, told this newspaper separately that while the Dutch Government has stated its view on the electoral reform law, it was premature for them to comment on the contents of the draft electoral reform law, because Parliament has not yet been privy to it.
Meyers said Prime Minister William Marlin (National Alliance) “saw it fit to send the draft to the Netherlands, but not to first put it before Parliament. After all, this is a law that, in essence, affects Parliament.”
Commenting on the general premise of the law that has been made public, Meyers said putting power in the hands of leaders of political parties and giving seat preference to the placement of a candidate on a party slate will not solve ship-jumping.
Marlin-Romeo is interested in knowing if the draft law was sent to the Council of Advice and, if yes, if their comments were the same as those of the Dutch Government.
“Unlike what’s being currently promoted, it’s quite obvious the proposal being pushed will not meet its objectives. I question the survey [about electoral reform –Ed.] that was placed by Government. What were the results? The results should be made public,” she said.
Coalition member Democratic Party (DP) leader MP Sarah Wescot-Williams in her comments to this newspaper said: “Some of Plasterk’s remarks deserve consideration, others are missing the point … So I believe we should carefully review these concerns and see how best to accommodate those we feel are warranted. Plasterk even offered to be of assistance.”
In her opinion, the changes to the Constitution required to bring the proposed electoral reform “do not fall under the matters that require approval of the Kingdom government, as stated in the Charter and in our Constitution, Articles 44 and 129 respectively.”
Wescot-Williams gave as an example that the comment that the new situation would see the prime minister lose control over the ministers, because they would have been nominated by the parties in Parliament, misses the point. “That is exactly how it is currently and has been. It is not a prime minister’s cabinet,” she said.
Given the timeframe ahead between now and the September 26 elections, the DP-leader suggested that “in addition have a Plan B,” consider changes to the electoral ordinance and the Rules of Order of Parliament.
“No changes are going to be watertight, but we have to start somewhere. The longer term issue is a more fundamental one. If this situation is not addressed, then we should move away from the party system. Currently, our system is a hybrid of a party and a candidate system. That’s where the friction is,” Wescot-Williams said.
Source: Daily Herald
Meyers: Dutch comments should not lead to any delay of election