UPDATE: Governor Holiday swears in ‘Easter Monday’ Parliament

~ No new coalition govt. yet ~

HARBOUR VIEW–St. Maarten’s fourth Parliament in less than eight years was sworn in by Governor Eugene Holiday at his Cabinet on Easter Monday.

The 15-member “Easter Monday” legislature will guide the country’s laws and supervise the current caretaker government and the eventual new coalition government when one is formed.

The new Parliament comprise seven Members of Parliament (MPs) from United Democrats, five National Alliance (NA), two United St. Maarten Party (US Party) and one St. Maarten Christian Party (SMPC).

The 15 were elected in the snap election of February 26. That election brought four new MPs to Parliament: Dr. Luc Mercelina of United Democrats, Jurendy Doran (NA), Rolando Brison (US Party) and Wycliffe Smith (SMCP).

The other 11 MPs are served in the third Parliament or were in the legislature in the past. Re-elected were Theo Heyliger, Sarah Wescot-Williams, Franklin “Frankie” Meyers, Sidharth “Cookie” Bijlani, Emil Lee, and Chanel Brownbill of United Democrats, Silveria Jacobs, Christophe Emmanuel, Ardwell Irion and William Marlin (NA), and Frans Richardson (US Party).

There is no indication yet which of the four parties in the new Parliament will coalesce to form the new Council of Ministers. United Democrats, although claiming the majority of seats in Parliament, is one short of a full majority and will have to gain the support of NA, US Party or SMCP to form a new Cabinet.

Indications from people familiar with the formation talks said SMCP will not work with US Party, headed by legally embattled MP Richardson. This makes the possibility of a NA/US Party/SMCP coalition that would force United Democrats into opposition less likely.
United Democrats leader MP Theo Heyliger was appointed some three weeks ago by Governor Holiday as “formateur” – the person tasked with putting together the new government. He is to deliver his final report with Minister-candidates to the Governor “as soon as possible.”

With no actual date tagged to Heyliger’s assignment, 36 days after the election the country is still waiting to hear word of the new Cabinet. This is the longest time St. Maarten, a country within the Dutch Kingdom, has waited for news of new coalition partners. It had become the norm for a coalition to form within hours of the election results.
The speedy formation of a coalition has been blamed for the fast crumbling of coalition governments. The five failed Cabinets were followed by the sixth now caretaker one headed by Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin.

The failed Cabinets have cost taxpayers thousands of dollars in continued salaries, benefits and pensions (if in office for more than a year) for fired former Ministers. Unemployed Ministers are entitled to their salary on a downward sliding scale if they do not become employed within two years of demitting office. Ministers who were already on pension are not eligible for continued payment.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/75238-update-governor-holiday-swears-in-easter-monday-parliament