Pensioners present petition to St. Maarten parliament

POSTED: 07/2/14 11:15 PM

St. Maarten – A petition regarding the concerns of the pensioners and older people was presented to the Parliament of St. Maarten, the Dutch representative, and the Council of Ministers on Monday morning. The seniors braved the heavy downpour of rain showers to ensure that the petition was submitted by June 30, so that it could be taken up in an upcoming Parliamentary session.

Faction leader of the National Alliance (NA) Member of Parliament (MP) Louis Laviest, who was present when the document was handed in at the Parliament of St. Maarten, said “this will have my support as I have addressed that in several meetings of the Parliament.”  He mentioned also that he does not think that “any politician should use the petition as a political tool, even though we are in a political season.”

He sees this document as “the right thing to do” and pointed out that it is his hope that all the seniors who were there to present the petition will be there “to enjoy the fruits of their labor.”  He plans to encourage a meeting of a committee of Parliament to look at the petition and see how “we can speedily put it forward so that it could be executed.”

The seniors are arguing that the proposed maximum of Naf 1000 is a violation of human rights which was ratified by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The petition seeks the cooperation with the Kingdom government to present to the Parliaments of the Kingdom with draft legislation that will provide St. Maarten and all other entities in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom the guarantee of an equal old age pension throughout the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The petition also states that the social allowance (Onderstand) which was recently announced on the island is not taking the needy seniors in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom out of poverty, which is a violation of their human rights they argue. The seniors are asking that there be a Kingdom-wide law that provides St. Maarten and all the other entities with equal social protection throughout the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The motion that was adopted in the Parliament of St. Maarten on January 15, 2014, has not resulted in any structural relief for electricity for the elderly or the GEBE consumers. They are also seeking the Kingdom government to intervene as they did in Aruba for structural relief in the prices of energy by using green energy that will reduce the high price of imported fuel.

The implementation of the national health insurance system is also seen as a violation of their basic human rights and, as a result, they are calling for its indefinite postponement. They are asking for the Kingdom government to provide the countries and entities with an equal quality health care that is accessible and affordable for all the citizens in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

They are also seeking legislation from the Kingdom to put an end to the abuse of the elderly on St. Maarten by implementing the Madrid International Plan on Aging of 2002 and the San Jose Charter of older persons of 2012.

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