PHILIPSBURG:--- From May 3 - 6, 2022, the Parliament of Sint Maarten hosted the Tripartite and Interparliamentary Kingdom Consultations (IPKO).
Delegations from the Parliaments of Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands, and Sint Maarten met at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort and Casino.
On Tuesday, May 3, 2022, delegations from the Parliaments of Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten met for a Tripartite discussion. The goal of this meeting was to prepare for the Interparliamentary Kingdom Consultation as well as discuss topics of mutual interest.
Among the topics discussed were, a proposal for a Dispute Regulation; current relations within the Kingdom, bottlenecks, and proposals for improvement; the proposal for the Caribbean Reform and Development Agency (COHO); presentation by a delegation of the Island Council of Sint Eustatius regarding the matter of democracy, or the lack thereof, in Sint Eustatius and by extension the kingdom and restoring the regular democratic order in Sint Eustatius; and the petition submitted on behalf of the Parliament of Sint Maarten to the UN Special Rapporteur on Racism.
The meeting was deemed to have been very successful.
After the Tripartite meeting, members of the delegations along with Members of the Parliament of Sint Maarten who were present as observers posed for a group photo.
The Interparliamentary Kingdom Consultations (IPKO) kicked off on Wednesday, May 4, 2022, at 10.00 hrs. with the opening and welcome address by the Chairlady of Parliament and of the IPKO and a short speech by each delegation leader. Each short speech was followed by a presentation by the chairs of the Kingdom Affairs Committees of the Parliaments on the recent developments per country. This was followed by a technical briefing on the COHO Law in apublic session with presentations by civil servants of the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten. Hereafter the delegates debriefed on the technical briefing of the proposed COHO Kingdom Law and other topics such as, the country packages and the implementation agendas, strengthening the rule of law, healthcare, financial sector, economic reforms, costs and effectiveness of the public sector, education, financial management & taxes, in four groups.
A moment of silence was held at 18.00 hrs. in commemoration of Remembrance Day.
During the evening’s welcome reception, which was held at Emilio’s, the President of Parliament, Mrs. Grisha S. Heyliger-Marten, welcomed the visiting delegates to Sint Maarten and shared a brief history of the Emilio Wilson Estate. She expounded on Sint Maarten’s resilience and the importance of communication, negotiation and diplomacy to realize a successful IPKO. During the evening delegates and special invited guests were entertained by performances from Funtopia, one of Sint Maarten’s premier entertainers & reigning Calypso King Mr. Leroy “King Beau Beau” Brooks, and Sweet Pan Entertainment.
On Thursday, May 5, 2022, sessions started at 9.00 hrs. with discussions on consensus Kingdom Laws in general, and better and sustainable relationships within the Kingdom. A presentation on the prison system on Sint Maarten was delivered by Mr. Steven Carty, Director of the Point Blanche House of Detention. The Minster of Justice, Ms. Anna E. Richardson, and support staff of the Ministry of Justice were also in attendance.
Later this same day, the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB) director, Mr. Claret Conner gave a briefing on projects financed through the NRPB. A presentation by Management of the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) concerning the progress of the reconstruction at the airport was also given. After answering questions posed by delegation members present, IPKO participants were taken on a visit to the Sint Maarten General Hospital and the Landfill. Due to time constraints the visit to Milton Peters College (Weymouth Hill) could not take place.
On Friday, May 6, 2022, the day’s program started with a visit to the Point Blanche House of Detention. The Interparliamentary Kingdom Consultations (IPKO) concluded with the establishment of the IPKO list of agreements in plenary which was followed by the official signing of the list of agreements and a public press conference.
In their closing remarks, delegation leaders expressed their contentment in the manner discussions were held and agreements were reached. These sentiments were echoed by the President of the Parliament of Sint Maarten, Mrs. G.S. Heyliger- Marten, who also thanked the delegations for fruitful deliberations.
The next IPKO is scheduled to take place from September 27-30, 2022, in the Netherlands.