PHILIPSBURG–Cutting down on the number of permanent committees of Parliament may be a way to streamline things and lessen the burden on Parliament’s administration, but such a drastic step of possibly axing some of the thirteen and growing committees will need widespread support in the legislature.
The cutting down of the committees is a thought from Parliament Chairwoman Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams.
“It is somewhat of an overkill,” she said at a press conference in Parliament House on Tuesday.
Several committees in the current Parliament have only four members. In past Parliaments, there were committees with only two MPs as members. No matter how small the committee, its meeting would require the same preparation as for a committee with double or triple that number.
In past parliamentary years, a number of committees never even met other than to appoint their chair- and vice-chairpersons.
Looking to the immediate future, Wescot-Williams has informed all chairpersons of the 13 committees of the pending items on their committees’ agendas from previous years that need to be finalised. Among those is the request from the Independence for St. Martin Foundation to the Petitions Committee for Parliament to call on government to hold a referendum on independence from the Dutch Kingdom.
Other matters pending are medical referrals abroad, the revising of the country’s fiscal and tax systems, an audience with the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten, projects of the General Petition Fund APS and a number of reports filed by the General Audit Chamber.
Parliament will resume its regular meeting week as of June 11 following the Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultation IPKO in the Netherlands. Several suspended or still-to-be-convened meetings are expected to be called for the week.
Wescot-Williams hopes to also kick off the now-finalised and regulated “Question Hour” with ministers in the week of June 11 or two weeks later when Parliament has its next meeting week. “I look forward to getting this started up,” she said.