St. Maarten Parliament approves handling 21 laws left over by the Antilles

POSTED: 10/11/11 1:33 PM

St. Maarten – Parliament unanimously approved an October 6 proposal by Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs Sarah Wescot-Williams to pick up the handling of 21 laws left behind by the Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles. The decision was taken on the very day the legislated deadline expired.
Article 4 of the additional measures relating to the Constitution gave parliament one year to take the decision. Monday’s tabling led to a two prong question from the National Alliance faction leader William Marlin on whether the meeting had been convoked according to the rules of order and whether the government was following the stipulated procedure.

In a presentation on the subject matter Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams said the administration had come to the proposed list by filtering out the ones that were no longer relevant and by removing the initiative laws that members and/or factions in the Antillean Parliament had submitted. She also pointed out that the government had taken a year to deliver the list because the civil service – specifically the Department of Legal Affairs and Legislation – had been compiling all the information on the process the laws had gone through could be compiled. This includes any research that was done.
That did not satisfy National Alliance faction leader William Marlin who said, “Power be to those who let it drag out to the last minute.”

Monday’s meeting was short on discussion around the list and long on debate about how the meeting was convened. Marlin argued that MPs should have been notified of the meeting four working days ahead of the gathering as stipulated by the rules of order. President of Parliament drs Gracita Arrindell said that while Marlin is correct there are multiple ways for the convocation to be sent.
“Article 27 subsection 4 of the Rules of Order states, ‘The members should receive their convocation in writing four working days before the meeting. If this is not possible, the convocation can be done another way,” Arindell said in an outline of the procedure.
Marlin accused the chair of violating the rules, but United People’s Party faction leader Romain Laville called the argument over procedure “silly politics.”
“Let’s just move one because these laws have a profound effect on our people and I want to address them,” Laville said.

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