Public central committee meetings under scrutiny

POSTED: 08/8/11 12:33 PM

St. Maarten – It is unsure whether the current practice of public central committee meetings of Parliament will continue. Parliament President Gracita Arrindell said yesterday on Soualiga Radio the process of reviewing the rules of order.
“When we had the Island Council the meetings of the Central Committee were held behind closed doors,” Arrindell said. “Now all these meetings are public but it behooves us to see if we could review this, if we don’t overburden the system by making them all public. We have to look at efficiency as well.”
Arrindell said that parliamentarians display a different attitude during public committee meetings. “During the handling of the budget in the central committee not much was said. The real debate took place during the public meeting of the Parliament.”
Arrindell defended the limits on speaking time that currently apply to parliamentarians when they address the parliament. “They have 60 minutes in the first round and 30 minutes in the second round. That is sufficient,” she said, adding that in central committee meetings there is no time limit but that it is not the purpose for MPs to speak “ad infinitum.”
Arrindell said that the public is “more often than not irritated by the manner in which parliamentarians use their speaking time. The speaking time limit guides that process,” she said. “Parliamentarians must be careful not to tick off the public by not sticking to the subject at hand. It is my function to monitor straying politicians. In the new parliamentary year I will be stricter, because it does not look good on TV. I will help to guide this process, to make sure that meetings are dealt with efficiently.”
Arrindell said that the Household committee has held four to five meetings reviewing the rules of order for the Parliament. “What we have now is a compilation of the rules of order of the old island council combined with those of the former Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles. They were prepared by the quartermaster for the Parliament. This month chairman Lloyd Richardson will call a meeting to finalize the review of these rules.”

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