Handling pending legislation gets underway – Opening parliamentary year takes place at Sundial School

POSTED: 08/6/13 1:37 PM

Arrindell and Semeleer

Parliament President Drs. Gracita Arrindell and her Secretary General Josef Semeleer at yesterday’s press briefing. Photo Today / Hilbert Haar

St. Maarten – The opening of the new parliamentary year will take place on the second Tuesday in September, not as in previous year at the parliament building, but at the Sundial School. The President of Parliament, Drs. Gracita Arrindell announced this yesterday morning at a press briefing about upcoming meetings. No further details were given about the program for September 10, but Arrindell announced that citizens would be pleasantly surprised

One of the first actions Arrindell undertook after taking office for her second tour of duty as the parliament’s president was to remove the tint from the windows of the meeting hall that obscured parliamentarians from journalists in the press room and from visitors in the building’s lobby. “The intention was from the beginning to have an open policy,” Arrindell said. She is still looking for a solution to screen the room for closed-door hearings, for instance with roller blinds.

Arrindell said that she had taken note of statements made by the chairman of the St. Maarten Insurance Brokers Association Neil Henderson about his wish to meet with the parliament. “That is not a problem,” she said. The parliament will in particular look at the national ordinance that deals with insurance and annuity, but also at Henderson’s report that some insurance companies no longer insure scooters.

Arrindell said that she wants to get the process moving with pending legislation, especially amendments to the civil code. “In January of this year I already expressed my concerns about the fact that the parliament was not handling these cases,” she said.

During the recess-month of July, Arrindell sent MPs the verbatim reports from ten different Central Committee meetings, of which the oldest one dates back to November 2011. Five reports are from 2011, another five from 2012 and four other reports, also from 2012, still have to be completed.

The civil law ordinances that await approval by the parliament deal amongst others with the joint custody of minors, the sale of property and assets, the acceptance and contracting of work, rent and partnership.

On Thursday, the first Central Committee meeting of the new season will kick off at 2 p.m. It deals with an amendment to the ordinance that regulates the oversight committee for the national security service. Currently, the president of parliament is a member of this committee. The amendment aims to remove this function from the committee and instead give the chair of the Constitutional Court, Justice Bob Wit, the authority to name a candidate.

Prime Minister Wescot-Williams will be present in the meeting.

On Friday at 2 p.m. the Central Committee meets with the Collectivité d’Outre Mer de Saint Martin and its President Aline Hanson. Earlier, the Central Committee met with the COM on December 12, 2011, when Alain Richardson was president on the French side.

Next week Tuesday there are two Central Committee meetings. At 10 a.m. the Ombudsman will give a presentation and at 2 p.m. the Council of Advice takes central stage.

Arrindell said that she will meet with Justice Minister Dennis Richardson to discuss which draft laws he would like to see the parliament deals with first.

The elusive amendments to the rules of order, a project that started back in 2010 with a meeting in the Government Administration Building, are ready, Arrindell said. The first acting Secretary General of Parliament has been tasked with writing the expanded explanatory notes. “
The intention is to present them to the Central Committee and approve them before the beginning of the new parliamentary year on September 10, Arrindell said.

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