PHILIPSBURG–The first meeting of Parliament after the summer recess was stalled a short while into the session due to no quorum.
The public plenary session started some 20 minutes after the official start time of 11:00am on Monday with the minimum eight of the 15 Members of Parliament (MPs) present. A short while after, as Finance Minister Richard Gibson Sr. made his presentation of one of two draft laws, the meeting came to an abrupt end, when only seven MPs were sitting in the General Assembly Hall.
Plenary session of Parliament requires at least eight members present in the Hall for a session to continue. The missing MP was Claret Connor; he had left the Hall to download documents from his Dropbox app onto his computer, because the app would not open on his mobile phone.
Without the needed eighth MP, Parliament Chairwoman Sarah Wescot-Williams had to close the session and schedule a new one. The session has been called for today, Tuesday, at 2:00pm.
Up for approval is the draft national ordinance on amending the national ordinance supervision of banking and credit, the national ordinance monitoring insurance business, the national ordinance monitoring stock exchanges, the national ordinance supervision of investment institutions and administrators, the national ordinance monitoring trust, and the national ordinance on insurance broking business (National Ordinance monitoring, updating and harmonizing Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten).
Also to be tabled by Gibson Sr. is the draft national ordinance regulating rules for the supervision of money transaction offices (National Ordinance on Monitoring Money Transaction Offices).
Before the abrupt end to the session, Gibson, Sr. had just related to MPs how pressing the need was for Parliament to pass the two pieces of legislation. The country is quite behind others in the world that have already adopted changes to their laws to combat the financing of terrorism and financing of money laundering.
Wescot-Williams had reminded MPs at the start of the session to start cultivating the habit of sending in written notice of absence to the Secretariat of Parliament, at the latest 30 minutes before the start of a sitting. This way of giving notice is part of the amended Rules of Order of Parliament. The document has to still be approved by MPs.
Today’s parliamentary session will be live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, Pearl Radio FM 98.1, www.pearlfmradio.sx and www.sxmparliament.org.