MP Sarah Wescot-Williams: “Government too comfortable with their lack of accountability to parliament.”

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PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — During the Central Committee meeting on Tuesday, September 15, 2021, convened for the purpose of ratifying the parliamentary committees and hear from the Prime Minister on the position of government in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, MP Wescot-Willams chided the government for its lackadaisical attitude towards the parliament of Sint Maarten.

The MP was particularly taken aback by the matter-of-fact presentation by His Excellency on behalf of the government of St. Maarten, stating that the 2022 budget will reach parliament only in November 2021.

“ It is only a few weeks ago that the Minister of Finance stated emphatically that the budget would reach parliament by the constitutional date and that is ‘the government shall submit one or more drafts of the budget to Parliament each year, no later than the second Tuesday in September.”

“To say the budget will get here in November without any explanation or even an apology is taking this parliament for granted, which is unacceptable, at least to me. Ironically, the current Minister of Finance, who is responsible to get the budget to parliament, was signatory to a motion against his predecessor P. Geerlings for the fact of not presenting a budget on time. Clearly that motion was only expedient to get himself and colleagues in the seat of government. Now in the seat, apparently proper governance has no priority for this government.”

In the same notifications, MP Wescot also alluded to a request by several factions, including her own for an urgent public meeting on the topic of long lease land management by the government. In their request the factions USP, PFP and UD alluded to the public debate taking place, the concerns expressed by the Ombudsman on this matter, the land and/or property tax proposal, and government’s blanket announcement to take back land from defaulters, as issues of concern for them.