Organic Laws now in English too – PM wants Civil and Penal Codes translated

POSTED: 02/28/14 11:32 PM

St. Maarten  -A symbolic launching of the translation of the Organic Laws for St. Maarten from Dutch to English was witnessed by members of the community at the A C Wathey Legislative Hall yesterday afternoon. “It has been a long time that there was talk of the translation of the laws beginning with the Organic Laws,” said Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams. She pointed out that the translation took much time and government was pleased when it was completed and the English translations published.

She noted that even though the translation of the laws is symbolic it is “important for the public of St. Maarten to know that the laws are currently under discussion and can be accessed in the English language,” said the Prime Minister. She mentioned that these laws are currently on the government of St. Maarten website.

She used as an example the situation of the Central Bank of St. Maarten and Curacao which are regulated under the set of laws that have been translated. On the website one would see these laws and the current discussions that are ongoing. Persons who are interested could also find on the website the laws that regulate the registration and finances of political parties can also be found, she said.

“It is a proud moment for all to have the have these translations public,” said Wescot-Williams. She continued: “It is my desire that there are two other pieces of legislation that I would like to see translated completely in the English language. They are the Civil and the Penal Codes.”

Prime Minister Wescot-Williams now wants the Civil and Penal codes translated into English since as far as she is concerned it affects everyone in the community. She explained that when some matters arise there are questions as to how they are regulated, even though Wescot-Williams said she is aware that this is a huge task.

There were some 37 ordinances that were translated into the English language, said Hank Jan Habarmahl.  He explained that the Department of Legal Affairs does not have the capacity or the skills to do the translation and as a result the Dutch Funding Agency USONA had to provide the funding.  One of the demands was that the translation be done in British English instead of American English.

He noted that the translation of the Organic Laws took almost a year which was from December 2012 and was completed in October 2013. He further said that there were more than 350,000 words to be translated.

The cost of the translation was Naf 50,000 and took more than 1000 hours of work from their department.  He mentioned that the translated English version of the Organic Laws cannot be binding in the court of law. Habermahl was responsible for the translation. He explained that there are some things in the Dutch language that cannot be directly translated into English because the language is structured differently, and in the court of law it is only the Dutch interpretation of the

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