PHILIPSBURG - The National Alliance faction in Parliament has serious concerns about the status of the recovery of the people of St. Maarten as well as that of the country itself. In lieu of the looming hurricane season and the constant challenges being faced with the landfill, economic development and unemployment, the plight of the people still suffering as a results of Hurricane Irma, among other ills, it is imperative that government gives account. In recognition of its obligation as representatives of the people, its role as supervisors of the Council of Ministers, and to ensure proper governance, the faction has submitted several meeting requests to start off this Parliamentary Term 2018-2022.
In accordance with the Rules of Order of Parliament, on Thursday, April 19th, 2018, the NA Faction submitted a letter for a meeting to the attention of the acting President of Parliament Mrs. Sarah Wescot-Williams requesting the presence of the Honorable Prime Minister Mrs. Leona Marlin with the following agenda points:
1. Status of the National Recovery Plan and the overall recovery of Sint Maarten in general
2. The role of the World Bank in the recovery process and the dissemination of recovery funds and the status of the Sint Maarten Project Bureau to manage the recovery project.
Additionally, several requests were finalized and submitted on Friday to call the relevant Ministers in to update the Parliament and people of St. Maarten on:
i) the Urgent Meeting which had been postponed upon request of the Prime Minister since February 9, 2018 on the status of - and plans moving forward for the Landfill, which continues to pose a threat to our society;
ii) the meeting to appoint the Chair and Vice Chairs of Parliament which was also postponed since March 29, 2018;
iii) measures being taken to protect Government’s Information Technology (IT) Infrastructure;
iv) Status of Hurricane Preparedness for the upcoming hurricane season 2018.
Member of Parliament Ardwell Irion in his capacity as Vice Chair of the Finance Committee also submitted a request for a committee meeting with the Minister of Finance to discuss and investigate the Maho Group/Sunwing Group financial aid request.
These meeting requests have been submitted to the President of Parliament on Friday and in the coming week in an effort to have parliament and the people of St. Maarten brought up-to-date on matters gravely affecting St. Maarten, hear government’s plans concerning them as well as to afford Parliament to ask questions and make suggestions and/or proposals on the subject matter.
Another concern is when the meeting for the appointment of the President and Vice Presidents for the new Parliamentary term will take place. These appointments should have taken place as the first meeting of the new parliament which was sworn in since April 2, 2018. The meeting was convened and subsequently postponed, and has to date not been reconvened. While the Parliamentary Rules of Order may allow for the former President to continue to act as such in the absence of such a meeting, it is surely not the intention for such a scenario to continue for an indefinite period of time, as such will determine the Presidium, and facilitate the formation of Permanent and Ad Hoc Committees which also remain pending.
NA Faction Leader MP Silveria Jacobs anticipates a speedy response from the President of Parliament confirming receipt of the requests as well as confirmation that the pertinent requests have been forwarded to the relevant Minister(s) in order to be able provide the necessary information to the Parliament of St. Maarten. She further reiterated that representation of the people is serious business which she and the NA faction take very seriously, and will follow up on the requested meetings with utmost diligence.