~ Mutual cooperation and support between members needed to combat poverty ~
PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — President of Parliament, the Honourable Grisha Heyliger-Marten, returned recently from her first Parlatino meeting with news of support from member states for Caribbean Dutch territories in their pursuit for full democratic rights.
She attended several presentations during which she networked and generated support for St. Maarten in legislative improvements and support for its Decolonization cause at the United Nations level.
On Sunday, MP Heyliger-Marten said in a press release that it was evident from one of the presentations that poverty alleviation and women’s issues should be prioritized in all the member states. “The pandemic has had a disproportionally negative effect on women in the region, who are suffering from loss of jobs and the resulting poverty. Because of the major role that women play in society, the impact of the pandemic on them affects the entire society even more”, according to Heyliger-Marten.
Having participated in her first Parlatino conference, held this year in Panama City, Heyliger-Marten, has expressed satisfaction over the St. Maarten delegation’s participation this year, which she said was “worthwhile.”
“The first day of the conference consisted of break-out sessions in working groups to discuss different important topics of mutual interest to all the member states. Usually, the Presidents of the respective Parliaments do not participate in these sessions. Still, I made it a point to join them to understand better the topics discussed and “get my feet wet”, Heyliger-Marten stated. “Together with MP Duncan, I participated in the working group related to political affairs. CAS (Curacao, Aruba and St. Maarten) gave their views on the ongoing developments within the Kingdom and the challenges in the relationships with the Netherlands.”
According to Heyliger-Marten, the second day consisted of more procedural meetings, including appointments and approval of Parlatino’s budget.
“On the third day, several general guidelines for laws that can be implemented in the member states were discussed. The idea is that each member state reviews the guidelines and decides if they can/should be turned into local laws”, according to Heyliger-Marten. She believes the guidelines that can benefit St. Maarten are regulations for distance working, specific education needs, access to info and digital communication, and reducing food waste.
“On that same day, I had the opportunity to briefly address Palatino’s General Assembly and elucidate on the challenges that St. Maarten and the other autonomous countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands face”, according to Heyliger-Marten. “During my address, I expressed hope, based on our historical ties, that Parlatino member states would assist the Dutch Caribbean islands in securing the Democratic rights for their people. This includes bringing the full measure of self-government to fruition following the UN Charter.”
During the conference, the St. Maarten delegation also used the opportunity to network with other member states. “This networking has led to encouraging expressions of support from member states for St. Maarten’s plight to achieve a full measure of self-government”, Heyliger-Marten said.
Heyliger-Marten concluded her release by stating that more details of the Parlatino meetings and the follow-up will be made available as soon as possible. “The meetings underscored the need for the Parlatino member states to maintain a united front moving forward. Not just to overcome the devastating effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic, but also to make the right strategic and geo-political decisions and moves on the global playing field”, Heyliger-Marten stated.