UP-faction dissatisfied with parliament President Samuel

POSTED: 09/27/12 11:54 AM

St. Maarten – The United people’s party faction has expressed its dissatisfaction with parliament President Rodolphe Samuel’s conduct in a letter the faction presented at a press conference yesterday morning. “Since the reshuffling and majority support change there has been a serious shift in the way things are run here in this parliament,” the letter to Samuel begins. “The members of the UP faction would like to express their dissatisfaction with how you are handling the affairs of parliament and inform you that your approach is counter-democratic and anti-transparent.”

The UP is complaining about the opaque coverage of the meeting hall’s glass wall, about meetings being called “in undue secrecy,” the refusal by members of the executive branch to answer questions in a timely manner, the circumvention of requested meetings (see related story on page 1), withholding information from the media and a unilateral decision to send two MPs (Laville and Pantophlet) to a Parlatino meeting that takes place today in Uruguay.

The UP faction demands that the opaque coverage of the meeting hall’s glass wall be removed. “We could have an option to cover the glass on occasion, but not permanently,” MP James said at a press conference yesterday. In the letter to Samuel the faction states: “We are committed to openness of government as this both assures and strengthens public trust, participation and collaboration.”

The faction furthermore alleges that meetings are called in undue secrecy. “we react to the way meetings are first called in secret, then adjourned abruptly yet never reconvened. Canceling of meetings at the whim of the new president is undemocratic.”

The UP also tackled the long time the Council of Ministers takes to answer written questions. “This is a blatant disrespect for parliament. Even the governor is behaving in the same manner. The matter of unanswered questions to the governor will be dealt with in a subsequent press conference.”

The faction also alleges that the parliament president is shutting out the press. “This is not something we take lightly. Why? Because as someone once said, democracy dies behind closed doors. We believe that freedom of the press protects the rights of the people to know that their government is actively and purposely working for them. Anything short of this leads us as a nation down a very slippery and dangerous slope.”

The UP says that in the absence of President Samuel a decision was taken to send two MPs to today’s Parlatino meeting in Uruguay. MP James asked Samuel to intervene and to include a member of the UP faction in the delegation. James said that Samuel agreed with him but that he did nothing to correct the situation, “perhaps fearing pressure from within.”

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