~ “The time to act on Mullet Bay is now” ~
PHILIPSBURG:--- Faction Leader of the United St. Maarten Party (USP) MP Rolando Brison on Tuesday submitted to Parliament his faction’s proposal document for the initiation of a Parliamentary inquiry into Mullet Bay. In submitting the document Brison repeated what he stated during his campaign: a Parliamentary Inquiry is the strongest tool the legislative body has at its disposal to address the many current issues related to Mullet Bay.
Entitled “Proposal for Parliamentary Inquiry: Giving Mullet Bay Back to the People”, the document which took a year to prepare, is the first-ever legislative paper for a Parliamentary inquiry in St. Maarten. MP Brison has already posted the full document on Facebook.
“It is time to stop talking, looking and dreaming of solutions. We have to act. Mullet Bay is the most valuable piece of property in the Caribbean and it’s our property, it can positively affect our future. The time has long past where we can sit idly by and simply do nothing. The time to act on Mullet Bay is now,” MP Brison said.
Specifically, the proposal calls for an inquiry into the ownership of the Mullet Bay area, the current volatile situation that exists between its current owner, government and citizens, and the need for Parliament and Government to intervene in every feasible way possible to protect one of its most precious coastal and inland waterways in the national interest of the country.
The document outlines four research objectives:
1. Legislative shortcomings allowing for this problem to exist, and the effects of jurisprudence that may have resulted through litigation, particularly in regard to the ownership of conflict zones such as the beach and the pond, and how these short comings should be addressed (New legislation, amended legislation, budgetary amendments, instructions to government by means of an amendment in the governing program).
2. What actions government can and should take to ensure the property is used in the best interest of the people of the country, being proactive ahead of potential irrevocable actions, such as auctions and/or settlements by the Central Bank, which may or may not be in the best interest of St. Maarten.
3. Finding a fully sustainable, environmentally friendly solution to the development of Mullet Bay, and continued protection of its natural resources – zoning, expropriation, assigning monument status.
4. The lack of economic activity for the area over 22+ years and what this has cost the country, and what economic benefits could be derived from the country if it were developed in a sustainable manner.
The proposal calls for the inquiry to be executed in four phases: The preliminary information gathering
Phase, Verification and Hearing Phase – the phase where the commission will be able to verify information, hear witnesses and seek advice from external entities for possible solutions, the Reporting Phase – The information is placed by the commission into a report and Conclusions and Actions - the conclusions from the report are delivered and debated by parliament, actions agreed, and the commission continues to follow up to ensure action is taken after the report is debated by Parliament.
The Mullet Bay Parliamentary inquiry Commission will consist of the Commission Chairman (MP Brison), one member of the Presidium, two members from the UD Faction, two members from the NA Faction, one other member of the USP Faction (MP Frans Richardson), one member of the SMCP faction (MP Claude Peterson)
From beginning to end, MP Brison estimates the inquiry to take 32 weeks (8 months) at a rough estimate of Naf 519,000 which includes commission staff, legal counsel, financial expertise, travel, communication, etc. MP Brison is of the opinion that the estimated cost of the inquiry (which could turn out to be less), is “well worth the effort of giving Mullet Bay back to the people.”
USP’s inquiry document has also been modeled based on the two more recent Parliamentary inquiries that were filed within the kingdom, namely the 2011-2012 Parlementaire enquête naar het Financieel Stelsel in the Netherlands5 and the 2013-2015 Fyra Parlementaire enquête also in the Netherlands.