Discussion on Kingdom Visa Law deferred

POSTED: 09/27/11 12:53 PM

St. Maarten– Justice Minister Roland Duncan has requested that he be able to join in on Parliament’s discussion on the Kingdom Visa Law. He’d come ready to do this on Monday, but Members of Parliament decided to remove the matter from the agenda, so they could proceed with a discussion on amongst other things: the crime situation before Duncan departed for a meeting with Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Piet Hein Donner.

Parliament’s Permanent Committee on Kingdom Relations, which is chaired by MP Roy Marlin has been discussing the draft law, which has already been vetted by the Parliaments of Curacao and Aruba. Those two legislatures have drawn up a report with their questions and concerns and the recommendation from the Kingdom Relations Committee is that St. Maarten’s Parliament state that it agrees with standpoint as expressed by the other two parliaments and then have a delegation provide a broader standpoint when they are invited to the debate on the law in the Second Chamber.

The principal concern by ministers and parliamentarians on this side of the ocean is that the Dutch Minister of Immigration and Integration will become the issuing authority of visas for all of the Kingdom’s territory.

“We have severe objections and I’d like to add to your report. It’s not necessary and I don’t see the sense. If we do this, we’ll be stuck with rules that we can’t counter and it could become distasteful. An example of that distaste is the fact that people could go through the process, get a visa but the authority on entry still lies with the Minister of Justice of the country. So what do we do? Refuse entry,” Duncan said.

Both MP Marlin and MP George Pantophlet want the matter discussed as soon as possible so that St. Maarten’s position is known when the debate occurs.

“This process started with the Netherlands Antilles before 10-10-10 and even though the law was never officially presented to the Parliament of St. Maarten, we believe that St. Maarten needs to make its contribution so it isn’t said that there was no reply from St. Maarten,” Marlin said.

Pantophlet added, “This is an important matter because of the potential economic and social impacts.”

President of Parliament drs Gracita Arrindell has pledged to convoke a meeting on the subject in the near future. On his turn Duncan has pledged to present a position paper for review and inclusion.

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