Marlin wants more control over government-owned companies

POSTED: 09/10/13 2:25 PM

Closure parliamentary year 2012-2013

St. Maarten – The closing of the 2012-2013 parliamentary year began yesterday morning with a request by National Alliance MP Louie Laveist to have the parliament examine the credentials of former Vromi-minister William Marlin, who will take up the seat of Drs. Rodolphe Samuel. After consultation with other MPs, Laveist agreed to a compromise and to handle the credentials in a separate meeting on Wednesday.

The statements faction leaders made during yesterday’s meeting seemed primarily designed for consumption by viewers and listeners. The three Independents, Patrick Illidge. Frans Richardson and Romain Laville took the floor, as did faction leaders George Pantophlet (NA), Roy Marlin (DP) and, in the absence of interim faction leader Sylvia Olivacce-Meyers, Jules James for the UP.

“What have we done,” Illidge repeated several times, “what are we going to do to ensure proper healthcare and equal opportunities for all? I don’t have the answers anymore.”

Illidge also called on parliament “to stand tall against the (financial supervisor) Cft that has structured our demise.”

Frans Richardson complained about the many motions the parliament passed during the budget debate in April and about the lack of action from the government. “Ministers need to come to parliament and explain why these motions cannot be executed. These motions are ignored by the executive branch. It ought to have the decency to come to parliament with an explanation. Minister after minister comes to parliament to seek approval for what they want.”

Jules James criticized the previous Finance Minister Roland Tuitt, in particular for abolishing the annual change of number plates. “This has cost us several millions of guilders. The current government was handed one of the biggest piles of dog poop to clean up.”

Roy Marlin addressed the issue of the government-owned companies. “Together they have more than one billion guilders in assets. How is it possible that the government is challenged to make ends meet while its companies are holding more than one billion in assets and they are sitting on millions of reserves.”

Marlin said that the companies should not hold more reserves “than strictly desired by the financers and the shareholder.” The MP added that the Council of Ministers and the Corporate Governance Council “will have to play a more active role in the running of these companies.”

Marlin referred to the accountability ordinance that government must ask for three bids for projects below 50,000 guilders and that it must put projects worth more than 150,000 guilders on public tender. “If government is to adhere to these strict rules it should be expected that government-owned companies adhere to the same rules. The question is: do they? In the next parliamentary year I would like to see how this is being done by government-owned companies.”

Marlin announced that the DP faction will ask for “extensive meetings” with shareholder representatives and managing directors to find out which checks and balances are in place. “Where they are not in place they should be further legislated by parliament. Maybe it is about time that these matters are laid down in strict guidelines.”

As the last speaker, Parliament President Drs. Gracita Arrindell announced that parliament will grant a youth award to a young and promising St. Maartener during the reception after today’s opening of the parliamentary year at the Sundial school.

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