Government to craft vision on kingdom’s future, relationships

POSTED: 04/7/11 11:41 AM

St. Maarten – The Government of St. Maarten believes that it must also evaluate the relationships that exist in the Kingdom. Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams announced that feeling at Wednesday’s Council of Ministers press briefing.

The declaration comes two days after Monday’s meeting between the Council of Ministers and Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Piet Hein Donner who decided to include the islands in the development of the Dutch government’s vision on the future of the Kingdom. Donner had similar discussions with faction leaders in parliament on Sunday, and will continue the talks as he tours the other countries in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom – Curacao and Aruba.

“We don’t believe it is a matter of urgency, however neither do we believe it is a matter to just prepare a paper on and say that you have something on file as far as that vision is concerned,” Wescot-Williams said.

The idea is for Donner to prepare the vision and then present it to the Dutch parliament in June. Wescot-Williams has the feeling that Dutch parliamentarians are mostly interested in the guarantee function laid down in Article 43 of the Kingdom Charter, when they speak about the future of the Kingdom. The government of St. Maarten agrees this article is important and wants a broader discussion on it, especially on the fact that it very often has the association with the “negative” issue of higher supervision.

“While we have given Minister Donner some brief comments on his or the Dutch government’s vision on the future of the Kingdom, we believe that as St. Maarten gets out of some of the more immediate issues that we’re dealing with right now that we too should start the process and make it first of all a local process and then come to a sort of a St. Maarten vision on the future of the Kingdom and especially the relations between the partners in the Kingdom,” Wescot-Williams said.

The prime minister also stressed a belief Wednesday that improving the lives of the people in each of the countries is not necessarily a matter for the parliaments of the Kingdom – The Netherlands, Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten – and the Kingdom Council of Ministers to be considering. This is a reaction to statements following a meeting in Aruba between delegations of the parliaments and discussions three faction leaders in the Parliament of St. Maarten had with Donner on Sunday.

“In most of the cases, for the people is something for the country firstly and for the government and parliament of the country. So you know, and this is something you’ve heard me say before, when matters are being raised, and others would say for us it’s in the interest of your people, then my immediate response has always been and sometimes amifftedly so is “Do you think that you are more interested in the wellbeing of the people of my country than I am,” and I have said and I mean it. So those kinds of generalizations about in the interest of the people, there could be no interest for no government than that for their own people to start with,” Wescot-Williams said.

The prime minister was clear Wednesday that she does not believe in a single Parliament of the Kingdom of the Netherlands as a means to repair the democratic deficit that exists. The primary reason is a belief in the autonomy of each of the countries in the Kingdom and a view that realistically St. Maarten would never have majority or equal representation in that body when one applies the one person, one vote principle.

“I don’t want to suggest and I don’t want to be running behind new political structures in the Kingdom, because if you look at the Kingdom Council of Ministers and you look at the representation there, is it really balanced in terms of the Ministers Plenipotentiary, so what would you get in terms of a Kingdom Parliament. I know what the report says in terms of us being able to vote for the (Dutch) Parliament, but I don’t think there’ll ever be more to it than that,” Wescot-Williams said.

The prime minister also said that she’s not given much thought recently to the idea of St. Maarten becoming independent, considering how busy the government has been with solving issues like the budget. In fact she stressed it necessary for the government to finish issues like that so they can move ahead with discussions on where the island can and should be going over the next ten to fifteen year period.

“These are discussions that you need to be having. Not just in terms of political structure, political independence yes or no, but economically speaking, socially speaking, where do we want to be in the next 10 to 15 years as a country. Right now we are too much running behind of issues. Someone sent me an e-mail or message yesterday and told me good job chief fire fighter, but I don’t want to be a fire fighter. I don’t want to constantly be outing fires, because that’s what they meant with the remark, but it just goes to show that I really would like to get out of this time of running and meeting deadlines,” Wescot-Williams said.

Did you like this? Share it:
Government to craft vision on kingdom’s future, relationships by

Comments are closed.