Sarah: Integrity Committee must lead reform process

PHILIPSBURG–Parliament Chairwoman Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams, who plans to take up the post of head of Parliament’s ad hoc Committee for Integrity, says that Committee should take the lead on electoral and constitutional reform.

Wescot-Williams told the press on Monday that the Committee should be at the forefront in organising district sessions to gauge the preference of the populace and should have meetings in Parliament with other groups and stakeholders on the topic.

On electoral reform, she said deciding on seat distribution in a way that best reflects what the voters want and holding candidates more accountable under the law were among the main challenges. The more responsibility a candidate legally has to the party the stronger the bond would be between the two, she said.

A “return guarantee” is needed for those who are elected to Parliament, but opt to serve in the Council of Ministers, she said. Such a guarantee should result in MPs being more eager to take up a role in the executive branch, she continued. That “guarantee” would allow a Minister who has been elected to Parliament to return to the legislature in the event of a majority change.

Giving more control and oversight to the Electoral Council falls within the sphere of electoral reform, as does campaign reform, she said.

Constitutional reform would not be easy, Wescot-Williams said, pointing out that any reform should reflect what the people desire. She added that “education of the populace is key” to get to the desire.

She intends to continue with the establishment of a code of conduct for MPs and to look into wider integrity matters, transparency and reform.

On a related issue, Wescot-Williams said she was in favour of the establishment of a Parliament Committee for matters relating to the Latin American Parliament Parlatino. She said the committee would be charged with reviewing the laws and resolutions coming from that regional body. Without a formal setting for matters from Parlatino, they will become stagnant. “We have to be looking at the benefits,” she said.

Source: The Daily Herald Sarah: Integrity Committee must lead reform process