SINT MAARTEN, PHILIPSBURG – On October 24, 2023, the Parliament of Sint Maarten hosted colleague Parliamentarians from the countries of Aruba and Curaçao for Tripartite discussions.
The objective of the Tripartite meeting is to prepare for the Interparliamentary Kingdom Consultation as well as to discuss topics of mutual interest. During the Tripartite meeting of February 2023, the delegations agreed to meet more often which would entail three in-person meetings and one virtual meeting per year. The meeting held on Sint Maarten was the first in-person additional meeting since the decision in February 2023.
The day started with an opening address by the President of the Parliament of Sint Maarten, Mr. Sidharth M. Bijlani. During his address, the President welcomed delegates to the island and declared the Tripartite discussions open. This was followed by brief introductions from the Presidents of the Parliaments of Aruba and Curaçao, during which both countries briefly outlined their expectations for the day’s discussions.
Topics handled during the morning hours included a presentation by Ms. Joanne Christiaans, Program Manager of the Dutch Caribbean Cooperation of Airports (DCCA). During her presentation, Ms. Christiaans updated Members of the delegations on the shared ambition of DCCA partners to collaboratively work towards achieving affordable, efficient, and sustainable air travel between the Dutch Caribbean islands.
After a lunch break, the program continued with a presentation and discussion with the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor of Sint Maarten, Mr. Omar E.C. Ottley, regarding the progress of the Caribbean HUB for Public Health, crisis and disaster management, capacity of healthcare staff, and the Dutch Caribbean Hospital Alliance (DCHA).
Other topics of discussion were, among others, feedback on the agreements of the previous Tripartite, progress on the Dispute Regulation, the use of consensus Kingdom laws as a means of control, reorganization of the tax systems in the countries based on the Country Packages and in the context of the parliamentary role: the possible pathways to be followed with a view on alleviating poverty.
The Tripartite discussions ended with a press conference with local and regional press in attendance in-person and virtually.
Other events in connection with the Tripartite discussion were a welcome reception held on Tuesday, October 23, and a group photo moment of all delegations, including Members of the Parliament of Sint Maarten, who were present as observers.
This Tripartite meeting was chaired by the Chairman of the Kingdom Affairs and Interparliamentary Relations Committee of Parliament, Mr. William V. Marlin.