PHILIPSBURG–The Parliament of St. Maarten is in favour of the stance of both Aruba and Curaçao on the way forward with the draft kingdom law on regulating disputes tabled by the Dutch government.
It is not that St. Maarten does not want to pick a side, rather eight Members of Parliament who met on Tuesday morning in a Central Committee meeting originally called to take a stance on Aruba’s proposed amendments to the law were confronted by the news that Curaçao wanted nothing to do with amendments. That island’s parliament has decided to stick with the draft 2016 law proposed by the three Dutch Caribbean countries within the Dutch Kingdom.
The 2016 draft calls for an independent body to be formed that will issue binding advices on any dispute arising between kingdom partners – the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten. The Dutch government’s draft leaves the application of the advice on any dispute up to the discretion of the Kingdom Council of Ministers.
Faced with two options, St. Maarten Parliament Chairwoman Sarah Wescot-Williams summarised at the end of the Central Committee meeting that the local Parliament is in favour of standing with Aruba on its proposed amendments.
Should that not work and the amendments are pushed aside by the Dutch government when the law is handled in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament, the next option will be to get the 2016 draft on the table, she said.
The importance of attending the session in The Hague was also discussed in Tuesday’s sitting. The draft law as proposed by the Dutch government is tentatively expected to be handled on July 2. This would be after the biannual Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultations IPKO.
St. Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) MP Claude Peterson informed Parliament that he will no longer travel to The Hague for IPKO because the 2019 budget is yet to be approved and enacted. He is chairman of Parliament’s Committee on Kingdom Relations.
National Alliance (NA) parliamentarian Silveria Jacobs questioned how committed Parliament is to kingdom relations matters. She also suggested that the way forward on the draft kingdom law be discussed with the Aruba and Curaçao representatives in the tripartite meeting that is usually held prior to IPKO.
Adding to the travel debate, Wescot-Williams said, “I don’t think it is opportune to travel to IPKO.” She told fellow MPs she would outline her stance as soon as possible in an official correspondence.