Ministers to present plans to Parliament next week

PHILIPSBURG–The Governing Programme of the National Alliance (NA)/United St. Maarten Party (US Party)/Democratic Party (DP) is back on the agenda of Parliament next week. The Programme was scheduled for a discussion in Parliament a week ago, but the meeting was postponed due to the coalition not having a majority on the appointed day.

  Parliament Chairwoman Sarah Wescot-Williams (DP) said in press conference Thursday, Prime Minister William Marlin will lead the discussion when it starts in Parliament on April 6. His presentation will be followed by the five ministers who will present their ministerial programme as derived from the Governing Programme. The discussion is to span two days.

  The Timeshare Ordinance has not yet been ratified by Government. A double check of the ordinance is on the way by the Secretariat of Parliament and the Legal Affairs Department of Government. Wescot-Williams said this step is to make sure the ordinance is ready for ratification, e.g. that the text is correct.

  A meeting will be held with St. Maarten Timeshare Association (SMTA) and the international organisation representing timeshare owners with Wescot-Williams, the initiator of the two timeshare-related ordinances. The meeting will focus on the draft ordinance to establish a timeshare authority. The two organisations want to add their findings and feedback on the draft. 

  Wescot-Williams is also working on several other draft initiative ordinances including the introduction on net metering by utilities company GEBE, banning of plastic bags via a change to the General Police Ordinance as was done on Aruba.

  Research on her draft ordinance to expand the scope of the Constitutional Court to cover disputes between Parliament and Government, as well as to allow residents to take case to the Court via the Ombudsman is ongoing. The Member of Parliament is scheduled to meet Court President Judge Bob Wit on April 4.  

    The need for laws to be translated into English was again reiterated by Wescot-Williams. She urged Government to set aside funds for this project and to start sensitizing civil servants about the laws and to do same for the public. Also on the existing laws, she said corrections in translations of laws must be made to ensure no issues in the future.

  Aside from working on laws, Wescot-Williams is tackling the relationship between Government and Parliament. She encourages Government to live up to its responsibilities by responding to Parliament when motions are submitted for execution. This way Parliament is aware of the progress made and whether or not a motion may be feasible.

  To facilitate this relationship, she has reiterated a suggestion she made some years ago for a question hour be established with ministers. This should be formalized in the Rules of Order, she pointed out. Instead of waiting for the change, she has proposed this question hour start as soon as possible.    

Source: The Daily Herald