Parliament to ask Govt. for updates on borders

PHILIPSBURG–Government will soon receive a request from Parliament for an update on the still-to-be formalised border between the Dutch and French sides of the island at Oyster Pond and about the kingdom law dealing with the St. Maarten-Saba sea demarcation.
The need for an update on the state of affairs was raised in both a meeting of Parliament’s Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations and Inter-Parliamentary Affairs and that of the Central Committee on the amendment to the kingdom law on the sea borders between St. Maarten and Saba, and Curaçao and Bonaire on Wednesday.

The amendment was sent to Parliament to render its opinion. However, the legislature was late in handling the request, sent on April 6. Missing the window of opportunity to make tangible comments, Parliament’s view will still be sent as observations and not as a report to the First Chamber of the Dutch Parliament.

The sea demarcation law came into effect in 2010. At that time, negotiations were still ongoing between the Dutch Kingdom and the Republic of France about their Caribbean boundaries. Those negotiations were concluded and finalised in a new treaty in 2016. Elements of that treaty will now translate into the change to the kingdom law.
Facing queries about the timeline for Parliament to respond, Parliament Deputy Chairman Member of Parliament Theo Heyliger (United Democrats) said a short deadline from the Dutch Government is the “story of our lives.”

MP Silveria Jacobs (National Alliance) said Parliament has a right to give an opinion on the border issues. She suggested that St. Maarten “send someone to the meeting to the First Chamber” when the sea demarcation law is up for handling.
MP Christophe Emmanuel (National Alliance) called for Government’s opinion on the changes to the law to ensure both the legislative and executive branches are on the same line. “I can’t give an opinion at all about what my opinion should be” without knowing Government’s stance.

Here we are asked to give an opinion on something that will pass anyway … What’s the reason for asking our opinion if our opinion doesn’t matter? … This is like role play or dollhouse because nothing, nothing is of substance. Nothing is going to affect the decision of the First and Second Chambers. … However, it is within our backyard. … It’s just an opinion from Parliament. It doesn’t carry any weight,” Emmanuel said.

MP Sarah Wescot-Williams (United Democrats) said Government was in discussions on the sea demarcation treaty and should be called on to give an update to Parliament about its implications.

Source: The Daily Herald