MP Leona Marlin-Romeo Closing Remarks for the 2014-2015 Parliamentary Year

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PHILIPSBURG (PARLIAMENT/Independent Faction) – Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Leona Marlin-Romeo on Monday addressed the House of Parliament during the closing of the parliamentary year 2014-2015.  In her address as faction leader the MP stated the following:

“The 2014-2015 Parliamentary session has been brilliantly chaired by the honourable Dr. Lloyd Richardson, and he has led it to a successful conclusion.

“I would like to convey a sincere thank you to the Presidium, that consisted of Dr. Lloyd Richardson, MP Cornelius De Weever and my person, who successfully finalized a new: Function book, Relaunched the Parliament Website, Adapted the new travel guidelines for Parliament, finalized the process for the purchase of a new server for Parliament, Key issues that have a fundamental impact on the effectiveness of Parliament.

“Congratulations to the Secretary General, the driving force behind the entire operation of Parliament. I thank you Nancy Joubert for your relentless efforts to ensure that the Chair, Presidium, staff and the entire parliament functions as it should.

“A warm thank you to my staff, as a team we were able to send 2 initiative draft laws to the Council of Advice for scrutiny: namely

  1. Voting Registry: Objective was to address the ongoing issues of students and other groups living abroad voting in local elections.
  2. Small Claims Court: Objective addressed the issue of allowing citizens to take matters to court for claims less than 5000 guilders. An initiative of Reynold Groeneveldt supported by my person

“In this parliamentary year, I was able to start the process and expect to complete them in the next parliamentary year the issues of:

  1. Neonatal screening: Objective is to allow all babies born on Sint Maarten to get the heel prick to test for genetic disorders, this is a preventative measure that can save the government substantially in health care cost. And I would like for this preventative measure to be included Public Health Ordinance
  2. Consumer Protection: Objective is to establish an entity that would serve as the body for consumers to complain about the quality of inferior services rendered and products on Sint Maarten.
  3. Beach Policy: Objective: allow appropriate access to the beach for emergency vehicles
  4. Creation of a Separate Personal Document Registry: Objective is to have personal documents such births marriage and death certificates of persons born in the kingdom registered in Sint Maarten
  5. Foster Care Concerns: Bring about awareness of the situations in the Foster Care
  6. Central Bank & Notary: Objective was to bring about awareness on the lack of legislation to regulate financial institutions and notaries specifically consumer protection
  7. Sint Maarten Anthem: Objective is to start the debate on creating a National Anthem for Sint Maarten, and put to the rest the debate on whether to have one or not
  8. Driver’s License: Objective is to allow persons the ability to get a license on Sint Maarten according to the rules of Sint Maarten.
  9. Electoral Reform: Objective is to ensure that the mishaps or the areas that were lagging be rectified. The Main Voting Bureau is expected to present a report on what was discussed in the meeting, along with areas identified by MP Wescot Williams. A debate on this matter in its entirety needs to still come to the floor of Parliament.

“A special thank you to the Committee members of the committee that I chaired, namely the Petitions Committee. We were able to establish the rules and guidelines for Petition entries, MP Wescot-Williams, MP Christopher Emmanuel, MP Johan Leonard, Because of the efforts of the committee members petitions coming to “Parliament must meet certain criteria’s established by this committee and approved by Parliament.  I am delighters to see that our collaborative efforts surpassed party affiliation and together we were able to prepare such. Setting the example for other committees.

“It has been a very busy year, for my person, being part of the Presidium, chairing 2 committees, being actively part of other committees, researching the various laws that need changing, participating in healthy debates in and out of Parliament, Being part of the IPKO delegation, Parlatino, Faction Leaders, yes it is meetings after meetings, But to whom much is given much is expected.  I have been executing my tasks. Each of the 15 members have a duty to fulfil as well.

“What lies ahead? I have pledged to work for the people of Sint Maarten, and this entails defending the democracy of this constituent state.  Our democracy was consistently challenged in this Parliamentary year, and I expect no different tomorrow and years to come.

“But we have to make a fundamental decision whether we will collectively put party politics aside and fight together to defend Sint Maarten.  Our democracy has been tested by others but we must also test it.

“When tested the issue of ethics, morals and values emerges and brings a different perspective to the matter at hand.

Max Cannon stated that “People are going to behave however the social norms permit, and beyond that.

“This means that we the people of Sint Maarten including Parliament will have to determine what we find acceptable for our island, this is part of democracy.

“We the people of Sint Maarten must determine what is our norms and values as this will be key in situations that entails making and taking ethical decisions.  This should not be determined by any outside entities but by us, the people of Sint Maarten. This is not a selective process, it should be reflected and practiced across the board.  Our decision should be a holistic discussion, to be debated publicly not only in Parliament but with input of both Church and State.

“Yes I will state again, to whom much is given much is expected.  We must collectively brace ourselves for what is to come, there are serious challenges ahead. But I can firmly say, The ANCHOR holds, in spite of the storms.

“I thank the voting population for this opportunity to serve them and I pledge to continue to work in the best interest of the people and this constituent state.  I pledge to continue to give and be my best and promote stability in Sint Maarten. May God continue to bless Sint Maarten,” Independent Faction Leader Hon. MP Leona Marlin-Romeo said on Monday during the closing of the parliamentary year 2014-2015.