Philipsburg, Sint Maarten — Every half hour wasted by members of parliament costs taxpayers NINE HUNDRED guilders. ( 15 x f.60,00 is NAf. 900,–). This amount is close to what some persons in our community earn monthly after deductions. It equals the school fee for others. For yet others, it equals the monthly cost for day-care.
So on Monday, October 26, 2015, when 14 members of parliament sat around and only 7 members signed the attendees’ list, the only duped ones were the taxpayers, who pay all 15 members a full time salary to defend the very same taxpayers.
Sad to see that this “old-school” practice is still very much alive in some sections of the parliament of St. Maarten.
Yes, parliament is a political body and you will inevitably see some political maneuvering and posturing in this body of politicians.
However, Monday’s meeting was not about political mileage one way or another. It was about ratifying the membership in the different committees of parliament.
A meeting for this same agenda point, scheduled for October 1, also had to be canceled due to the lack of a quorum.
Members of parliament are free to participate in all committees of their choice. The committees then appoint their own chairpersons and vice -chairpersons.
The function of these committees is to investigate matters that are brought to parliament for its consideration, before deliberations take place in the Central Committee or a Public Meeting of Parliament.
It is an opportunity for members to deliberate in a less formal way about these matters and to report to the central committee of parliament.
Due to this old and outdated political practice of “attending” meetings and not signing in for such, the membership of the committees of parliament has not been ratified on October 26th as scheduled and the work of these committees is further frustrated.