UP-faction outraged about sudden adjournment of parliamentary meeting

POSTED: 03/25/13 12:57 PM

St. Maarten – The United People’s party faction reacted outraged yesterday morning when Parliament President drs. Rodolphe Samuel adjourned a meeting that was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. without much further ado for one hour due to “unexpected circumstances.” Samuel did not explain the nature of these circumstances. Culture Minister Silveria Jacobs, who was present at the scheduled start of the meeting, seemed surprised by the decision.

But UP-MP Jules James was outraged and it took sometime before Samuel had restored order and allowed James to make a point of order. “This is not the way to conduct a meeting,” James fumes, adding that “this is not the first time” Samuel takes matters into his own hands to the opposition’s dismay. Fellow-MP Gracita Arrindell seconded James’ objections. They were duly noted but after that Samuel brought the hammer down and adjourned.

The UP-faction stormed into the press room to make a statement. “You just witnessed another incident that shows how meetings are conducted,” MP James said. “There is no transparency. A meeting is called and just like that it is adjourned because of unforeseen circumstances. At least consult with the faction leaders about it, then come back and make such a statement. We vehemently disapprove of this. It is wrong.”

MP drs. Gracita Arrindell concurred. “If this is something that concerns the president, there is a vice president. Give due respect to the Members of Parliament. The balance is way off in the way he is managing the meetings.”

MP Dr. Ruth Douglass said that Samuel’s action amounted to “a lack of respect for the people.

This is not a one-party show. Give due respect and caucus with the faction leaders.”

“Sometimes the president Caucasus, but only with member of his own faction,” Arrindell added. “This is not an incident, it is becoming a trend. And that is a problem.”

Johan Leonard said that the UP-faction demands inclusion. “This blatantly shows: we control the government,” he said.

Asked if the faction members intend to do something other than expressing their frustration, MP James said that there is no provision in the rules of order or the constitution that would enable them to take action.”But there is a lack of good governance, a lack of transparency and this continues. William Marlin always used to say when he was in the opposition: might is right. And now, they have the numbers.”

MP Arrindell said however that there are possibilities to act against the way Samuel directs the meetings, even though the revised rules of order still have to be approved. “In September we will bring a vote of no-confidence against the president as a way to record our dissatisfaction.”

Arrindell indicated that things have changed under Samuel’s presidency.”Letters are not answered, and there are no meetings of the presidium or of the seniors-convent (a meeting of faction leaders – ed.). It is just not democratic.”


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