Coalition fallout leads Samuel to request time

POSTED: 04/17/13 1:39 PM

Rodolphe Samuel on left

St. Maarten – Coalition partners did not side with Parliament President Drs. Rodolphe Samuel on Monday night when he sought to continue a plenary session on the Draft Budget 2013 under protest from MPs that the process was being rushed and everyone was tired. Samuel was voted down 11 to 4, after Democratic Party MP Roy Marlin placed a motion for the meeting to be adjourned that was seconded.

Marlin said that after a week of intense deliberations on the 2013 Draft Budget with more than 10 hour work days, everyone was exhausted, tired and needed to rest in order to recoup and refocus. He pleaded on behalf of his colleagues, workers at the House of Parliament and civil servants. It made no sense, Marlin added for people to continue to waste hours without any significant contribution. When Samuel insisted that the meeting continue, Marlin objected which eventually led to the vote.

The Independent Frans Richardson before voting ‘voor’ said that he was surprised with the coalition partner since just before the meeting began at 8:15 p.m., an agreement had been made for the meeting to go until 11 p.m.

Before Marlin raised his point of order that resulted in a motion, Silvia Meyers, interim faction leader of the UP, spoke for 26 minutes, rehashing points that she had already raised at the Central Committee level and also asking additional questions of the Minister of Economic Affairs on the marketing of St. Maarten via Tempo Networks.

Because of the 11 to 4 vote in favor of the meeting being adjourned, Samuel was compelled to call its closure.

The public meeting opened just after 9:00 am yesterday and Samuel immediately requested another adjournment. He said that he expected that all of his decisions would be supported by the governing coalition. He moved a point of privilege according to Article 31 of the Rules of Order and adjourned the meeting “to renew his faith.”
“Without the support of the coalition or the majority of Parliament I cannot sit on this chair. The coalition can give me that support but I must say thank you to the people of St. Maarten for allowing me the opportunity to serve. Being chair is challenging in many ways; one of the biggest challenges is to make sure that every single Member of Parliament is treated as equally as possible in these esteemed Chambers. There are times in life when you have to renew your faith and today as chairperson of Parliament I feel it is time for me to renew my faith so I move on a point of privilege  and ask this esteemed body for its indulgence, I am going to suspend this meeting,” Samuel said in a somber message.

The meeting was eventually reconvened just after lunch.

One day prior, Samuel had to face another protest of his handling of the meeting, when the United People’s Party faction threatened to bring court proceedings against him for moving to the plenary session without the Minister of Public Health, Labour and Social Development showing up with answers posed to questions in the second round of the Central Committee in the wee hours of Saturday morning.
The UP has accused the parliament president of attempting to fast track the budget’s passage through the legislative branch of government.

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