Arrindell: MPs have all documents related to amended budgetPOSTED: 06/3/11 7:02 PM
St. Maarten – Members of Parliament (MPs) have had the amended budget for 2011 and all related documents except the advice of the Board of Financial Supervision (Cft) since Monday to allow them to prepare for the debate in the Central Committee that will begin June 6. The Cft’s advice was sent to MPs on Wednesday.
Monday’s Central Committee meeting on the amended budget begins at 11:00 a.m. with a presentation by Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto. Other members of the Council of Ministers have also been asked to come to Parliament and give one hour presentations on their specific ministries.
A general public meeting on the budget 2011 has also been set for June 27. At that meeting MPs will approve, amend or reject the budget. The discussions in the Central Committee are so that the MPs can gain clarity on points of interest.
The Central Committee meeting on the budget is the second of two Central Committee meetings on Monday. The first one begins at 10:00 a.m. and includes a request for dispensation by the Ombudsman to perform another job, an advice from the Ombudsman on who would replace her in her absence and the appointment of a Deputy Secretary General.
“It is my intention as President of Parliament to ensure that all issues that come before this body are handled. I do not want a situation like the former Island Council and the former Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles, where issues are raised and never finalized,” the President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell said.
Arrindell also confirmed on Monday that 99 answers to the written questions submitted by MPs, during a discussion with the finance minister on developments surrounding the budget have been sent to MPs. She admitted there was some delay because of the transition from one Secretary General – Franklin Hanze – to another – Jozef Semeleer. She also expects things will get better, now that the body has a permanent Secretary General.
“The launch of Parliament’s website next Wednesday, to which we have invited the Secretary Generals and the department heads, will also help to give members and the public real time access to documents sent to this body,” Arrindell said.
Meetings with third parties
Arrindell also announced Wednesday she’d met with Governor Eugene Holiday to continue the discussion about structural meetings between them and structured meetings between him and the various factions represented in Parliament. Arrindell also met the Ombudsman, Dr. Nilda Arduin-Lynch on Wednesday. A copy of the Ombudsman’s annual report for 2010, which covers the first 72 days of functioning, was handed over at the meeting.
Legislative review/Meeting third parties
Arrindell also announced Wednesday that she’s crafted a schedule of Central Committee meetings where MPs will look at legislation. That schedule will be updated next week, because Arrindell expects to receive the list of unfinished laws handed over to Curacao and St. Maarten from the Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles on Monday. The list has 66 laws on it and Arrindell has already decided that laws with expiration dates attached will be handled as priority.
Later this month MPs will meet the Corporate Governance Council, per the body’s request to get an update on the body’s activities. The Justice Committee is expected to meet with the Pointe Blanche Inmates Association and the Office of Disaster Management, headed by Winston Soloman will meet MPs to discuss the country’s preparedness for a disaster.
“We want to look at how prepared we are for more than just hurricanes. We also want to look at how prepared we are for earthquakes, tsunamis and any other type of disaster,” Arrindell explained.
Also coming up for discussion during the year are the traffic laws, the legislation that covers human slavery, exploitation and domestic and family violence, the laws governing the timeshare sector and a review of the country’s labor laws. The latter review will include consultations with the business community and unions and the timeshare laws will include input from the industry.
Minister of Justice Roland Duncan will also be called back to Parliament in the coming period so that he can update MPs on his ministry’s functioning.
“We believe that one session is not enough and we need to keep the minister on his toes,” Arrindell said.
Some of scheduled meetings will happen at the beginning of Parliament’s month long recess that is scheduled to begin on July 5.