Wescot-Williams dismisses decision to dissolve parliament PM: “Insanity”

POSTED: 06/6/13 12:26 PM

St. Maarten – “Insanity.” With that single word Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams condemned the actions of the four National Alliance ministers that held an extraordinary Council of Ministers meeting on Tuesday afternoon where they approved a proposal to dissolve the parliament.

“Last week I said that I will not be part of any ploy to damage the reputation of our country,” Wescot-Williams said at the weekly press briefing yesterday. “But Tuesday afternoon was nothing short of insanity. Every rule in the book has been trampled. It is sad to witness the level we are sinking to, but we will have to live with it.”

The PM said that on Monday afternoon she had received a “threatening letter” from Vice Prime Minister Marlin that urged her to put the disputed governor’s letter of May 16 and the proposal to dissolve the parliament on the Council of Ministers meeting’s agenda for Tuesday. If that would not happen, Marlin announced that he would then convene an extraordinary meeting later that day – which is exactly what happened.

“It is unfair to compromise the position of the governor this way,” Wescot-Williams said. “I will not cooperate with this.”

The rules of order for the Council of Ministers state that extraordinary meetings are to be held preferably on Thursday mornings, but there are no explicit rules. However, Wescot-Williams scoffed at the fact that Marlin had sent her a letter to invite her for the extraordinary meeting and that she had put it aside.
The decision in the Council of Ministers by the four National Alliance ministers will find its way to the desk of Governor Holiday, who has a decision to make: sign off on the decision or refuse to do so.

According to legal advice this newspaper received the parliament will be dissolved if the governor sees fit to sign off on the decision and in that case elections will follow and a new parliament must be installed within three months.

In the more likely scenario that the governor does not sign off on the decision – if only because by Friday he is expecting a report from informateur Wescot-Williams about the formation of a new government – article 21 of the Governor’s Regulation kicks in.

This article states that the governor does not sign national decrees “when he considers that it violates the charter, an international regulation, a Kingdom law or a general measure of the Kingdom administration, or interests of which the care and guarantee are a Kingdom affair.”

The governor has to inform the King immediately about such a decision. Only if a royal decree determines that the contested national decree does not violate any rule, will the governor approve the decision. If the decision does violate the rules, a royal decree establishing this fact will be published in the National Gazette.

There is a catch somewhere in these rules: in case the governor fails to inform the King immediately about a decision not to sign off on a national decree, he commits a punishable act. Article 25 of the governor’s regulation states in paragraph 1.c that the governor will be prosecuted if he does not execute the obligations imposed on him by the Regulation.

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