Political analyst Julian Romney: “Perception about constitution is utterly absurd and uninformed”POSTED: 10/5/15 6:03 PM
St. Maarten – “As reported in the media, the perception that “amending the Constitution is the only solution to stop ship-jumping and the further continuing demise of Government on St. Maarten (4 times in just about 5 years) is utterly absurd and uninformed,” Political analyst Julian Romney says. “Respectfully, Article 47.1 of the Constitution clearly defers such matters as the election and maintenance of parliament, to be regulated by national ordinance. To this effect, the Election Ordinance (AB 2010, GT no.10) was ratified by the Government of St. Maarten December, 2010.”
Romney says that to avert ship-jumping, the focus should be on amending the Election Ordinance which allows for (non-elected) parliamentarians to indiscriminately break ties with their elected party list and align with another party list consequently causing government to fall, which has become affectionately known as ship-jumping. “To avoid such continuing political anomaly, I have submitted to the Parliament of Sint Maarten a draft Election Ordinance Amendment Legislation (June 29, 2015),” Romney says. “The objective of the Amendment is to “ensure the sanctity and rightful representation of the election results were elected non-elected Members of Parliament (could) declare themselves as “independent, align with a different party list/ political party . . . and render the premature fall of government. New elections will not solve the ship-jumping issue but the aforementioned Election Ordinance Amendment Legislation reform will.”
“Calling for early elections is unconstitutional” as reported in the media, might appear to be a gray area but to my mind it is quite constitutional,” Romney says. “As Article 33.1 of the Constitution clearly states “the Prime Minster and the other Ministers shall be appointed and dismissed by National Decree.” This is further reinforced by Article 59.2, which states that “An order for dissolution shall also require new elections to be held for Parliament which has been dissolved and the newly elected Parliament to meet within three months.” The coming together, after the fall of government, of different parties and/or “independent” Members of Parliament to form a new government, which was permissible under the Island Regulation of the Netherlands Antilles, is hardly consistent with ordinary standards of parliamentary government.”
Romney refers for a detailed understanding of St. Maarten’s governmental structure and parliamentary procedures to his publication St. Maarten: Our Constituent State Constitutional Framework, IAAS Publishers, 2013.