Gracita Arrindell closes parliamentary year

POSTED: 09/9/14 11:12 PM

St. Maarten – Parliament President Gracita Arrindell closed off the parliamentary year 2013-2014 yesterday morning in a meeting MPs used to express countless thank you’s and also to express their respect for each other. Highlight of the meeting was an initiative by the departing MP Roy Marlin, who tabled a motion that asks the prime minister to “inform” the ministers of her cabinet not to enter into any long-term commitments during their last weeks in office. The motion also asks shareholder representatives of government-owned companies to instruct the management along the same lines.

Parliament approved the motion with 8 to 3 votes. Dissenting were members of the United People’s party faction – Johan Leonard, Sylvia Meyers-Olivacce and Gracita Arrindell.

The motion asks the PM “to inform the individual ministers not to make any long term policy, financial decisions or decisions of such a nature as granting land in long lease, bus and taxi licenses, concessions, hiring and placing of personnel in crucial functions and decisions of the waste to energy concession. The request also pertains to “decisions that may obstruct or encumber the incoming government from functioning adequately during the next governing term.”

The motion furthermore asks ministers that act as shareholder representatives of government-owned companies to instruct the management and board of these companies “to refrain from entering into long term agreements and sign contracts that may negatively affect or bind these companies for a long term.”

Once this motion was dealt with, faction leader got “eight to ten minutes” for a final speech, while other MPs were allotted 5 minutes. Nobody stuck to the time limit, and President Gracita Arrindell did not bother to call the clock on any of her colleagues.

Frans Richardson, currently independent Member of Parliament, but also the leader of the new US party, made a brief remark about the criticism parliament has had to endure during its first four years. “There were four long, hard years,” he said. To those who criticize Parliament I say, come in here one day and feel what it is like. We are not going to fix everything overnight, but we are on the right track.”

Richardson asked the Parliament to provide its members with the tools it needs to do its job.

Other MPs reflected on their four years in Parliament and on their (perceived) achievements. A recurring remark was that “the people want relief.”

National Alliance leader and current formateur William Marlin said that “the tools to prepare legislation are in the hands of the government.”

He pointed out that the NA-faction had sub mitted the first initiative draft-ordinance to Parliament 3 years ago – legislation to curb the abuse of short-term contracts. “It is unfortunate that this has taken three years,” he said. “Now the final version is there, as part of a larger package. The first order of the day for the new Parliament will be to debate this publicly.”

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