Constitutional Court rules on Alexander’s petitionPOSTED: 01/19/16 7:47 PM
St. Maarten News – The Constitutional Court will take a decision on Friday morning about the petition Lisa Alexander filed about the election date. The court is in session on Friday to handle the review of the Integrity Chamber-legislation.
At the beginning of this hearing, at 9 a.m., the court will rule on Alexander’s petition.
“His Excellency Governor Eugene Holiday’s attempt to cancel the national decree of October 29 is unconstitutional,” Lisa Alexander said in a press statement on December 15 of last year. “There is absolutely no provision in the Constitution that gives the Governor the authority to cancel a published National Dissolution Decree. This Decree affects the fundamental rights of the citizens of St. Maarten contained in Article 23 of the Constitution.”
According to Alexander, who was a candidate in last year’s elections on the list of Frans Richardson’s United St. Maarten party, the dissolution decree of October 29 is still in force. “The new national decree signed by him on December 14, was not published before 12 a.m. of December 15 and is therefore not in force and did not have its intended effect to replace the national decree of October 29 that went into force per December 15 at 12 a.m.” Alexander bases this on article 11 of the National Ordinance on Publication and Entry into Force.
“This new national decree can only enter into force, after the day of publication of the National Gazette in which it was published. The governor’s statement on his website that this new decree enters immediately into force does not carry any legal weight. The Governor is subject to the Constitution, just like the rest of us.”
Alexander refers to article 89 of the constitution which says “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.”
“National ordinances, national decrees, containing general measures, ministerial regulations and orders of public bodies or independent administrative authorities shall enter into force from the third calendar month following the publication date if the regulation lacks a designation of the date of entry into force,” Alexander points out with another reference to a section of the National Ordinance on Publication and Entry into Force.
“The Constitution of St. Maarten becomes useless, the moment the people are willing to let someone abuse it and we are not going to let that happen here,” she concludes.
In the meantime, politicians are focusing on elections to be held on September 26. Postulation Day for elections on February 9 has long passed and even though, according to Alexander, all preparations for elections on that earlier day are in place, the cabinet does not seem to consider dropping the September 26 date as Election Day.
Nevertheless, a ruling from the Constitutional Court on the issue, if the petition is declared admissible, will provide some clarity for the future.