Editorial: Dilemma

POSTED: 05/25/12 2:01 PM

When members of parliament are sworn in they promise to always uphold the constitution, aka the State Regulation. That should not be an empty promise, but MPs created an interesting situation by bringing up cockfighting yesterday during the debate about the new criminal code.
It contains an article designed to protect animals against pain. Well, with a stretch if the imagination, that could be read as a ban on cockfighting, the argument went. One could almost feel that this is not what the parliament is waiting for.
This is where article 22 of the State Regulation of St. Maarten gets in the way. It reads: “It shall be the constant concern of the government to keep the country habitable and to protect and improve the natural environment and the welfare of animals.”
The key question is therefore: how do cockfights improve the welfare of animals?
Nobody forced the State Regulation down our throats: the last Island Council approved it without giving it a second thought. Now our parliamentarians are confronted with a dilemma: they will have to live up to their promise – or they will have to admit that they’re only willing to uphold the State Regulation when it fits their purpose.

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