No quorum again to vet incoming MP | THE DAILY HERALD

~ Meeting recalled for 3:00pm ~

PHILIPSBURG–There was again no quorum for this morning’s Parliament sitting to vet credentials of incoming substitute Member of Parliament Jules James. Only five of the 14 existing MPs were present and signed in for the session; three short of a quorum.

The sitting has been recalled for 3:00pm today, Wednesday. At that time, the number of MPs present can hold the sitting. The session is open to the public and will be live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 115, SXM GOV radio FM 107.9, Pearl Radio FM 98.1,, and of Sint Maarten.

Present for this morning’s meeting were MPs Sarah Wescot-Williams, Sidharth “Cookie” Bijlani, Franklin Meyers, and Tamara Leonard of the United Democrats and Claude Peterson (St. Maarten Christian Party).

The opposition MPs were absent with notice, as was United Democrats MP Dr. Luc Mercelina.

Until James’ credential are vetted and he takes the oath before the Governor, Parliament will stay at its current seven-seven tie. The same number of MPs are currently on both sides of the aisle.

James is the next highest vote getter on the United Democrats 2018 Parliament Election slate who is not yet serving in the legislature or in the Council of Ministers. He will be appointed as a “deputy” as prescribed by the Constitution.

James is to take up the seat of suspended MP Theo Heyliger. That seat became vacant two weeks ago when Heyliger was suspended under Article 50 of the Constitution due to his pre-trial detention. He is currently in detained in Bonaire as the investigation into the Prosecutor’s Office’s allegations of corruption and money-laundering over a long period of time.

The aborted meeting also has on the agenda the approval of several important financial transactions-related laws. It is thus not only of vital importance to return the legislature to its full complement of 15 members, but to the passage of these pending draft bills.

Failure to pass the laws related to movement of money, money-laundering and the financing of terrorism or rejection of those can result is the listing of the country internationally as unsafe for financial transactions.

Source: The Daily Herald