Justice Wit: Ordinance prosecution politicians still open for challenges

POSTED: 10/14/11 12:07 PM

St. Maarten – The last word has not been said about the controversial ordinance on the prosecution of politicians, Justice Bob Wit, the President of St. Maarten’s Constitutional Court, said at a press conference yesterday afternoon. “It can still be challenged in the Common Court of Justice.”
Justice Wit made his remarks after questions from this newspaper about the fact that there had been no possibility to test the ordinance’s constitutionality in the Constitutional Court, due to the time gap between the moment the ordinance was passed in October of last year and the moment the office of the Ombudsman became operational.
“Once you have a case, things will become interesting,” Wit said, hinting at a moment in the future when a local politician becomes the subject of criminal prosecution. “Then we will see what happens. It may be – and I don’t say that this is so – but it may be that some parts of that ordinance violate the constitution.”
Justice Wit spoke at a press conference organized by the General Audit Chamber, the Advisory Council and the Ombudsman for today’s symposium at the Westin Dawn beach Hotel and Casino about checks and balances in a democracy and the role of high councils of state. The symposium begins this morning at eight o’clock and concludes at noon.
Justice Wit is a keynote speaker at the symposium, together with Dr. Samuel Polanen, a constitutional law consultant and the director of the Foundation for civic education; he is also advisor to the permanent secretary of Home Affairs in Suriname.
Wit said that the constitution of Curacao is “not as strong as the one of St. Maarten” and that currently a committee is looking into repairing possible flaws. Asked about the situation in Curacao, it did not go into details, though his opinion became clear from this statement: “In small societies we have to maintain a tone of courtesy and civility. That will bring us much further than when we go down in the mud.”

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