Inter-parliamentary consultation costs nearly 100, 000 guilders

POSTED: 01/8/12 5:04 PM

St. Maarten – Next week’s inter-parliamentary consultation on the Kingdom will potentially cost tax payers nearly 100, 000 guilders. The final budget approved by the Central Committee on Friday is 92, 587.15 guilders and covers all costs related to hosting the meeting. Some 5, 000 guilders was added in an amendment this morning and is reserved strictly for unforeseen incidental costs.

President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell also climbed back from her statement on Thursday that the meetings will be held behind closed doors, telling her colleagues that the final decision will be taken in a meeting of the presidium of the inter-parliamentary consultation.
“One of the countries made a proposal, and I brought that up in the press briefing yesterday, in which I said well when dealing with the people’s business we should be able to debate without having to take into consideration the spotlight on them and making use of part of the time, which is their good right, to grandstand instead of really focusing on my point. But I never said, again for the record, that the decision was that it would take place behind closed doors because the presidium has to discuss that,” Arrindell said.

The assertion followed a proposal by National Alliance Member of Parliament Louie Laveist for the meeting to be held in public. He was especially adamant that the meetings should be carried live on radio so that as many people as possible can follow the discussions.
“I propose that we consider amending the budget to ensure that these meetings are broadcasted on radio because the frequency that is dedicated or supposed to be dedicated to Parliament has not been completely resolved yet and if need be that we outsource, even if it’s just for this event the public broadcasting via radio of these very important, high profile meetings so that the people can be informed, so we can reflect the right to information, the right to be informed, the right to know and that transparency in government and in particular in this highest elected legislative body of parliament,” Laveist said.

Later he’d added, “Considering the highest elected parties of all three elected Parliaments of the Kingdom will be here, I think it is rather important that this body gives consideration to my proposal that the people have the right to be informed and be a part of these meetings.”
No decision was taken by the MPs present at Friday’s Central Committee meeting on the specific request, but Arrindell has committed to ensure that the Secretariat of Parliament concludes agreements with one or more radios stations in 2012 to ensure that meetings of Parliament are broadcast to the public on radio.

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