Reader’s Opinion: Performance

POSTED: 01/17/14 12:21 PM

Dear Editor,

Two months ago Soualiga Social Movement wrote an opinion letter pertaining to the ever increasing salaries of our ministers. We therefore welcome and applaud the Council of Minister’s initiative to decrease the salaries of ministers with an average of some 12%. This is what we call: leading by example. When we look at the budget for 2014, we see that many areas received a cut. But, look and behold the budgeted expenses for Parliament have increased!

Four years ago we walked into a voting booth and placed some red marks (or not) for everything we are about. Collectively all of us that live here are responsible. While we are on some third ministers, we have practically the same parliament.

Besides the budget, on the parliamentary website there is also the report 2012-2013 for parliament which we recommend you to read. One of the first things mentioned is that they underspent their budget. They “only” spent 7 million guilders. This is what was produced by our 15 elected officials “for the people” for that 7 million guilders: Questions to ministers in writing more than doubled; motions submitted up slightly, motions passed up a lot. Not putting a value statement on the content, these are the only two categories where they produced “more”.

Some other less positive facts are: There were less meetings than in any previous year; there were zero amendments presented; there were less draft laws presented than in any other year; the committee on the country’s expenditures only met once (see how careful they are spending taxpayer money), the committee on health care, social development and labor met only once; the petition committee only met once; the committee on culture and education only met twice; the committee on environment and planning only met twice; the committee on kingdom relations met a whole bunch of times. And last but not least: the griffier did much more answering of letters than last year, parliament not so much (Soualiga Social Movement never received a response to its letters). While incoming correspondence almost doubled, parliament answered about half as much as they did last year. About one in five.

Here is a summary of what 7 million guilders provided: Answers to letters; 344 questions to ministers in writing; 81 meetings; 17 motions presented; 6 draft laws presented; 4 draft laws passed. And the 4 draft laws are (in Dutch): 1. Zittingsjaar 2011-2012-023 Landsverordening tot wijziging van de Legesverordening 1994 en enige andere landsverordeningen in verband met de invoering van nieuwe identiteitskaarten en rijbewijzen; 2. Zittingsjaar 2011-2012-021 (Statennummer 3513) Landsverordening houdende wijziging van de landsverordening op de weerkorpsen 1997; 3. Zittingsjaar 2012-2013-030 Landsverordening tot aanpassing van verschillende landsverordeningen vanwege de troonopvolging; 4. Zittingsjaar 2012-2013-031 Landsverordening tot vaststelling van de Begroting van het Land Sint Maarten voor het dienstjaar 2013.

How is that for performance? 7 Million guilders: how many roads can you fix? How many kids can be provided breakfast? How many tourists can you market to? How many schools can you build? How many parks can be made? We do need a parliament, but come on! Some of these parliamentarians have simply not delivered, but the costs for parliament are budgeted higher. Most of these individuals will be asking for your vote this year. Use it wisely. #sxmmovement

Soualiga Social Movement

 

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