Opposition members want a public meeting on GEBE and on the proposed National Health Insurance.

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PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Members of Parliament Wescot-Williams, Heyliger-Marten and Emmanuel want parliament to urgently meet on GEBE and the National Health insurance proposal, which is in the pipeline.

In their letter regarding GEBE, the MPs state  that “the public concerns regarding GEBE continue unabated and that government responses have been few and contradictory”.

Issues mentioned in the letter of the opposition members are:

  • The status of data recovery
  • Billing
  • Outages and load shedding Financial viability of the company

We are trying  every which way to get the attention of government for the plight of the people, but we are being stonewalled at every turn, MP Wescot explained. 

“Requests for committee meetings are ignored, but a request by a minister to appear in parliament is  promptly  honored, only to see the minister slighted by her own coalition.”

We have therefore requested an urgent meeting and have asked that the Rules of Order be upheld and  the 4-day period for an urgent meeting be observed. These rules take precedence over the scheduling of meeting vs non-meeting weeks. So the requested  meetings should be called this week.

“We are now in the month of October and are yet to see the first piece of draft legislation for the national health insurance,  which is supposed to go into effect on January 1, 2024. The process to get to a national health insurance, by whatever name, is a formidable undertaking and the people’s  representatives in parliament should be afforded time to debate the matter and hold their own consultations if so desired”, MP Wescot stated.

In the meantime, doable amendments to current legislation to include medical coverage for  sole proprietors, vendors, taxi and bus drivers etc. are held back, all awaiting the complete overhaul by means of the general health insurance.

“Adding insult to injury is the lack of the draft  amended budget 2023 and the callousness with which the government is handling this matter. Approximately one month ago, we were told that the budget is well underway”, MP Wescot concluded.