PHILIPSBURG:--- Member of Parliament George Pantophlet is asking the question as to why it is being said that passing the Budget without the approval of the Kingdom Council of Ministers is illegal.
Pantophlet is not negating the fact that every Member of Parliament has to vote his/her conscience. "We all took an oath to do so. The meeting in which the Budget was discussed happened in accordance with article 34.2 of the rules of order which states: "As soon as the attendance list is signed by at least half plus one, the President opens the meeting. The said list remains at the table of clerk for signing by Members of Parliament arriving later". Every member that signed the attendance list had an opportunity to debate, the draft budget at the time", said MP Pantophlet.
The 2022 Budget was voted upon and passed with 9 votes for and 4 against. As a matter of a fact, in handling this budget the MP expressed that he feels that the chair was quite lenient in allowing blatant non-adherence to the rules of order, as 'points of notifications' and 'clarifications' were turned into third and fourth rounds by asking additional questions, whereas Public Meetings consist of first and second rounds only. He applauds her poise in this regard as he is not sure whether he would have been so lenient.
"What is abundantly clear is that Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs indicated that the new State Secretary of Home Affairs and Digitalization will forward a positive advice to the Kingdom Council of Ministers. This for me was sufficient to support the budget and also in conformity with article 100 of the constitution", Pantophlet stated.
The MP further stated that he is convinced that the new State Secretary would not have made such a statement to our Prime Minister if she doubted the outcome of her advice.
"I'm sure that the members who voted against and those who were absent do not share the same sentiments. The PFP unfortunately is judging the State Secretary before getting to know her. Statements by the PFP such as “a promise is a comfort to a fool”, are careless. We know for a fact that the Kingdom Council of Ministers always approves the advice from the State Secretary. In addition to this, there were deviations approved from 5 previous budgets, so what makes this one different?", said the MP.
The MP said that voting on the Budget instead of postponing it is in conformity with article 100 of the Constitution.
"We have nothing to do with the Kingdom Council’s responsibilities. What is being left out of the argument of those who opposed approving the Budget is that the Committee for Financial supervision has complete insight into Government’s operations and has approved said deviation. This alone gives me confidence that in combination with this advice and the positive advice of the State Secretary, the Kingdom Council of Ministers will approve the deviation", MP Pantophlet concluded.