Collectivité de St. Martin visits parliament – We have to work together, President Hanson says

POSTED: 08/12/13 12:14 PM

Aline Hanson meets Arrindell LB

Aline Hanson, President of the Collectivité d’Outre Mer de Saint Martin (l), shakes hands with the President of Parliament, Drs. Gracita Arrindell. Photo Today / Leo Brown

St. Maarten – For the second time since St. Maarten obtained country status in 2010, representatives of the Collectivité d’Outre Mer de Saint Martin (COM) paid a working visit to the Parliament in Philipsburg yesterday morning. “Next time we’ll meet at the Collectivité,” COM-President Aline Hanson said. “It is not normal for us to be invited twice and not invite you. It is important to meet, because we have to work together.”

The COM’s complete Executive Council came to Philipsburg for the meeting, and several members of the Territorial Council were in attendance in the bleachers. President Hanson was accompanies by her vice Presidents Guillaume Arnell, Ramona Connor, Wendel Cocks, Jeanne Rogers-Vanterpool and Rossette Gumbs-Lake, plus Louis Fleming, a councillor with a special assignment.

President Hanson outlined the structure of the French-side government system and that brought some distinct differences with the Dutch-side system to the surface. There are 23 members in the Territorial Council – comparable to St. Maarten’s former Island Council. There are five opposition members, one independent member and 17 members that belong to the ruling party RRR of Alain Richardson who had to step down as president due to irregularities with campaign financing.

The council-members are elected for a 5-year term. President Hanson presides over the meetings of the Territorial Council and the Executive council.

Interestingly, the council members receive just a modest subsidy for the work they are doing and not a salary – a stark contrast with the $125,000 gross compensation Dutch-side MPs take home.

Hanson and her vice-presidents each gave a presentation about their respective portfolios to the parliament. At the beginning of the meeting, when the Dutch-side MPs introduces themselves it appeared that most of them have ties with the French side.

 

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