PHILIPSBURG–Reviewing the disaster management structure and examining the creation of a guarantee fund to protect debtors are amongst the items listed in a motion passed by Members of Parliament (MPs) on Tuesday, during the continuation of a meeting on the country’s state of preparedness for the hurricane season, disaster management and reconstruction following the devastation caused by hurricane Irma.
The motion was submitted by Chairperson of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams during an earlier session of the meeting. The motion says taking into consideration the devastating social, economic and financial impact of hurricane Irma, government should institute regular consultation with French St. Martin and inform Parliament of these consultations regularly.
The motion also urges government in consultation with French St. Maarten to work post haste on the clean-up of the Simpson Bay Lagoon making use of the proposal which forms part of operational programme of the European Union and the plans of the Nature Foundation. It also calls for government and Parliament to immediately activate a weekly question and answer hour and calls on government to examine the creation of a guarantee fund to protect mortgage debtors in consultation with the banking sector.
Government should also enlist the assistance of the United Nations population division to address the population shift experienced in the aftermath of hurricane Irma making use of the social mapping that has been developed on and for St. Maarten, the motion says. It also calls on government to post haste propose a framework law to formalize a structure of community and district councils making organisations mandatory part of the social development plans as well as to review the disaster management structure in all its facets.
“Government will open and strengthen the lines of communication with the Kingdom Government to ensure that no delay and loss of aid results from a lack of communication and present a formal aid request to the Kingdom Government,” the motion reads. It also calls for the establishment of a new formal dialogue structure with the business sector.
According to the motion, the impact of the hurricane and the subsequent declaration of a state of emergency by government, the extraordinary time the country is in, demands extraordinary measures and approaches. It says also that Parliament in its role as the supervisor of government has an extraordinary burden to ensure that accountability checks and balances remain in place.
The motion was passed by MPs present at Tuesday’s meeting. Prior to the passing of the motion, Prime Minister William Marlin provided answers to the questions posed by MPs during an earlier round of the meeting.