Alexander petitions Constitutional Court about elections datePOSTED: 01/8/16 6:12 PM
St. Maarten – Lisa Alexander had petitioned the Constitutional Court to instruct the William Marlin-cabinet to continue with preparations for elections on February 9 and that the parliament be dissolved on March 14. These dates stem from the national decree published by the Marcel Gumbs Cabinet on October 29, 2015.
Alexander, who was a candidate on the list of the United St. Maarten party of Frans Richardson for the August 29, 2015 elections, argues that the national decree the Marlin-cabinet signed for postponing the elections to September 26 violates the rules because by the time it was published on December 15, the October 29 decree had gone into effect.
Alexander asks the Constitutional Court furthermore to take a string of other measures related to elections on February 9.
While it is generally understood that the Ombudsman holds the key to the Constitutional Court, Alexander refers in her detailed petition to article 24 of the constitution that reads, “Everyone shall have the right to submit petitions in writing to the competent authorities.”
To substantiate her argument, Alexander quotes article 89 of the constitution that reads, “The publication and entry into force of national ordinances shall be regulated by national ordinance. They shall not enter into force until they have been published.”
The national decree PM Marlin and Governor Holiday signed on December 14 – and published the next day in the National Gazette – came too late according to Alexander, because the October 29 decree from the Gumbs-cabinet took effect on that day, before the publication was out.
Marlin has however said that the decree that pushed the elections to September 26 took effect the moment it was signed, on December 14.
Whatever happens with this petition, based on the Constitutional Court’s history it is near impossible for any ruling to arrive in time to make elections on February 9 possible.
For example, in September of last year Ombudsman Nilda Arduin submitted the Integrity Chamber legislation to the Constitutional Court for review. The court will handle this case on January 22 and present its ruling quite some time after the hearing.