MP Wescot: Parliament torpedoes its own committee before it even gets to work.



Statements by MP André Bosman have now become our frame of reference

Philipsburg, St. Maarten, – With all the pressing matters before us, such as the financial position of Government, the state of our Government agencies such as SZV, our healthcare and our fragile economy, the Parliament spent much of the past week discussing DECOLONIZATION!

The Presidium of Parliament decided to quickly rush a Central Committee meeting and the following day a public meeting of Parliament to “establish a permanent decolonization committee” of Parliament.

Only after objections from my part and others about the need for such a committee at this time was it grudgingly decided to name the committee Committee for Constitutional Affairs and Decolonization (CCAD).

While I have been very critical of this so-called decolonization drive, because of what I read behind these attempts, I voted for the establishment of the committee, because I saw it as the right setting to continue the discussion regarding the constitutional future of this country and to ensure that no fast balls are passed. Fast balls such as wanting St. Maarten back on the list of none self governing territories (NSGTs).

 In MP Wescot opinion, a good discussion ensued on Wednesday last on the establishment of the committee, during which time I was able to highlight the following:

  1. We HAVE the right to self-determination. We don’t have to seek or ask for it to be given to us.
  2. The constitutional future of this country is a decision of the people, not of a selected few. I consider going back on the list of NSGTs such a decision that the people should be consulted on.
  3. The people must know all of the relevant facts, not skewed in any direction.

The proponents of the CAD committee were very adamant about the openness of this committee, the involvement of the people and the input of all MPs. More reasons why I supported this committee.

I too want us to get to the bottom of this discussion, so that this carrot that is held in front of our people by some of our elected representatives that the UN charter can force the Netherlands to “take care of us” without any conditions, without any push back, without any deliberations, can be seen for what it is, a carrot! The statement about the NL having to take care of us unconditionally is incomplete and inaccurate.

I have to conclude however that the committee proposal was but a smokescreen to push through a motion that followed at the last moment on Thursday.

A motion that attempts to put the parliament on the seat of government and steer the government.

A motion that attempts to circumvent the constitutional division of powers between the parliament and the government, with total disregard for financial rules, parliamentary procedures and our democratic system.

It is criminal to tie the hands of Government at this crucial stage of negotiations with the Dutch Government when the liquidity assistance to help our people is at stake.

Not to mention the Prime Minister’s answers to Parliament which did not reach us, until pressed for them on the day of the meeting. Answers that only seek to appease coalition members. Interestingly from these answers, statements by MP André Bosman have now become our frame of reference.

Not a word said in the meeting and still not said or answered about parliament’s presidium entertaining contracting the law firm Choharis Law Group based in Washington, D.C. It is ironic that the government does not have the legislative capacity to prepare the necessary laws to make adjustments to civil servants’ legal position, so that these decisions can be challenged if necessary, but they can engage legal counsel for the decolonization drive.

It should also be noted that no motion of Parliament can set aside procedures such as open solicitation for bids to carry out work on behalf of Parliament; formal decision-making by Parliament, or financial procedures.

The coalition majority in Parliament does not have a blanket approval to do as they please and then expect Government to make payments, sanction contracts and/or agreements.

I urge the Government to carefully consider how far they want to go along with these dubious tactics by the coalition for the sake of wanting to appease individuals in the coalition.

Now that the matter of constitutional affairs has taken center stage, it is Government’s duty to explain to the St. Maarten public what their intentions are with respect to:

  1. Self-government/autonomy/independence.
  2. Decolonization route to the United Nations.
  3. What of these and in what order are these constitutional items priorities for Government?
  4. Funding for these initiatives.