Government gets majority of work on Antillean laws

POSTED: 10/12/11 4:45 PM

Locally supported initiative laws off the table

St. Maarten / By Donellis Browne – The Council of Ministers has the bulk of work to do in terms of the laws left over from the Netherlands Antilles that the Parliament of St. Maarten has agreed to handle. The original list from the Netherlands Antilles had 71 laws on it. This was whittled down over time and on October 10 parliament agreed with a proposal from the government to pick up handling 21 of those laws at the stage they were at.
In total the government has to take action on 16 laws. Four of those laws are listed as ready for handling in a public meeting, three require the government to submit a written or oral response and nine require that the government sends written answers to parliament.
The four laws ready for handling resort under the Ministry of Finance (Amendment to the Commercial Code), Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports (repeal of the decree with rules on the national economy of goods and/or national defense), the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunication (National Ordinance Bureau of Intellectual Property) and the Justice Ministry (amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure to allow for Special Investigative Powers).
The Justice Ministry is the only one where written or oral replies must be given on three draft laws. One of those is an amendment to the law on admittance and expulsion, which allows the Minister of Justice to deny entry to people to the extent considered necessary to comply with international agreement. The Justice Ministry can also inform parliament verbally about a draft law aimed at suppressing acts of violence at international airports and a draft law that would address problems that have arisen from the application of Article 438(b) of the Penal Code.
The Justice Ministry also has four laws under the heading of “Government must provide answers.” This is the single largest amount in this category. The other five are one apiece for the Ministry of General Affairs (Ordinance to amend the compensation scheme on treatment and nursing costs for civil servants), the Finance Ministry (Ordinance including an innovative and unique nutrient article in the Criminal Code of the Netherlands Antilles in order to combat pyramid schemes), the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunication (Ordinance establishing new rules on telecommunications), the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports (Media Law), and the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (Ordinance amending the council regulation on June 9, 1921, containing provisions to combat infectious diseases).
Parliament also has five laws – two each from the Finance Ministry and the Justice Ministry and one from the Ministry of General Affairs – that it must provide the government with a report on. The single law that resorts under the Ministry of General Affairs is an ordinance regulating pensions of government officials. The two draft laws from the Finance Ministry in this category are amendments to the ordinance to promote the building of corporate offices and hotel buildings, and an amendment to the stamp act. The two draft laws for the Justice Ministry are the ordinance on implementing the new criminal code and a draft law on notaries.
The list of 21 does not include the six draft initiative laws that were still being handled, when the Netherlands Antilles was dismantled on October 10, 2010. Of those six, two had the support of the National Alliance faction and one was supported by the Democratic Party of St. Maarten. Both the National Alliance and the Democratic Party supported a draft initiative tabled on January 24, 2006, which called for a minimum sentence for people who use a firearm when committing a robbery. The Parliament had yet to create a report on this draft law when the Antilles ceased to exist. The other initiative that was supported by the National Alliance, but not by the Democratic Party, is a draft law to amend the National Ordinance on the supervision on trust companies that was submitted on August 10, 2009.

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