PHILIPSBURG – The Democratic Party (DP) on Tuesday issued a press release giving its analysis in what it considers the “real reasons behind it” (Ed. the national decree) that the Council of Ministers presented to the Governor for signature with respect to the dissolution of Parliament and new elections.
The DP Party’s comments are noted in RED:
NATIONAL DECISION of the 29th October 2015, no. LB-15/0992 (THE REAL REASONS BEHIND IT)
THE GOVERNOR OF SINT MAARTEN,
On the recommendation of the Prime Minister, Minister of General Affairs, in keeping with the sentiment of the Council of Ministers;
Having taken into consideration:
-that immediately after the results of the last elections, persons elected as member of Parliament, have split off from the party with which they contested the election and positioned themselves as independent members of Parliament;
Conclusion: this is the very same make-up that facilitated the UP/Gumbs cabinet into office. Now independent members Marlin-Romeo and de Weever are thrown under the proverbial bus by the same government, because they separated from their parties.
-that now again some members of Parliament in a letter of September 30, 2015, without prior discussion with and any further statement by the Government, have withdrawn………………..(?), while two of these members have left the party with which they participated in the election and thereby again created a different relation than that of the results of the election.
Conclusion: withdrawn what? This is an incomplete sentence in the heart of the matter, namely that the UP/Gumbs cabinet is acting outside of the legal constitutional order, issuing this decree, as a government that has no parliamentary support.
-that since 10-10-10 on average each year, a new Government was formed as a result of defections;
Conclusion: the 2014 election obviously has not solved the "ship jumping", even after 2 changes during the first parliamentary term (2010-2014).
-that since the Parliament election in August 2014, the governing accord that supports the government was renegotiated several times, because of the constant changing makeup of the coalition;
Conclusion: this is the fault of the leaders of the coalition that support the UP/Gumbs government. The program is still in some drawer at Parliament.
-that the Government partly as a result of the above, was constantly under threat that its support would be undermined,
Conclusion: the stability of the UP/Gumbs government was absent and under threat, due to the absence of a collective or cohesive vision. A house divided cannot stand.
-that a durable majority in Parliament cannot be guaranteed;
Conclusion: neither does an election in February 2016 guarantee this.
-due to the constant changes there is insufficient guarantee c.q. cannot be foreseen that a subsequent Cabinet will be able to count on the durable support of a majority in Parliament;
Conclusion: neither does an election in February guarantee this.
-that it is necessary during this governing term, also on short term, to take major financial-economic decisions as well as decisions with respect to the integrity of the public administration for a resilient future of the country and that such decisions can be taken only in a stable governing climate, evidenced by a clear voters mandate;
Conclusion: the government has some major financial-economic measures in mind and the voter has no idea what these measures are. Taxation comes to mind.
-that the constant changes are sufficient reasons to hold new elections;
Conclusion: Election at this time does not solve "crossing the floor" or "ship jumping", because no reform was ever championed by the UP/Gumbs cabinet. To the contrary, they willingly accepted the practice, when it was in their favor.
-also that the reports "Doing the right things right"; final report Commission Integer Governance, July 2014 (white/Samson), the report "Integrity Inquiry into the functioning of the Government of Sint Maarten "(Price Waterhouse Coopers, 2014) and the report" National Integrity System Assessment Sint Maarten ", 2015 (Transparency International) showed that the phenomenon of “crossing over” Parliament members has strong negative impact on the integrity and quality of our government;
Conclusion: No measures have been taken by the UP/Gumbs-cabinet to curb the phenomenon of "crossing over". Not even as part of their integrity program. Luckily for them, the DP helped them to at least get to an integrity chamber.
-that for the image of Sint Maarten in regional and international context, for the development of our democracy and the continuity of the government of Sint Maarten, it is not desirable to allow this situation to continue;
Conclusion: this very same decree and a "snap" election perpetuate the image of a government "gone wild".
-that the representative system on which our Constitution is based, presupposes agreement between the Government and the people's representation and that is a prerequisite to successfully govern our country;
Conclusion: the bedrock of our parliamentary democracy is a government that is accountable to the people's elected representatives in Parliament.
-that a representation of the people only exists as long as such is supported by the electorate;
Conclusion: government has no authority to "fix" the constitutional term of 4 years of a parliament to its own liking.
-that, given the constantly changing relations, there is reason to allow the voters to make a clear statement whether the members of Parliament, who perform their task as they see fit, still enjoy sufficient trust of the voters;
Conclusion: that is not the call of government. Voters vote for persons. These persons (can) form coalitions. Constitutional term is 4 years.
-that the insight that mentioned trust exists or not, cannot be established independently of the voters, so that new elections should be held, that guarantee unanimous support of the voters support for the intended major decisions;
Conclusion: WHAT MAJOR DECISIONS, WHEN THE GOVERNMENT PROGRAM HAS NOT EVEN BEEN DEBATED??? The UP/Gumbs government is not forthcoming and is using the right to dissolve parliament as a ploy to push through measures that are shrouded in darkness.
-that the possibility is herewith created for the voters to make a clear statement as to whether members of Parliament have the confidence of the population;
Conclusion: the UP/Gumbs government is turning the legal constitutional order on its head. Voters vote their representatives into office; these representatives "judge" the ministers. Not the other way around.
-that the Government is of the belief that with the government’s policies pursued thus far, the public interest and the welfare of the people are well served;
Conclusion: No evidence whatsoever of this is provided.
-that it is now up to the voters to decide if such is the case;
Conclusion: so this is not about a new parliament; this is about judging the UP/Gumbs government's actions that have been as obscured as night. Cases in point: E. Wilson Estate, St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation, Zebec, Vorst Estate, GEBE, S'Bay land, Landfill, medical tourism, procurements, APS funds.
-that in the decision of 28 October 2015, no. LB-15/0951 by mistake an incorrect election date was mentioned, which was not in compliance with the statutory period referred to in article 40 of the electoral regulation;
-Whereas it is therefore necessary to annul this decree and to establish a new decree.
Having regard to:
-Article 59 of the Constitution of Saint Martin; -
Article 21 and 40 of the electoral regulation; -
paragraph 3 of the State Ordinance registration and finance political parties;
The Parliament of St. Maarten will be dissolved in accordance with article 59 of the Constitution of St. Maarten. The dissolution of the Parliament will take place on Monday 14 March 2016.
Voting for the election of members of Parliament takes place on Tuesday 9 February 2016.
The day of nominations for the election of the members of the Parliament is determined on Tuesday 22 December 2015.
The first meeting of the newly elected Parliament will take place on Monday 14 March 2016 at a time determined by the Chairman of Parliament.
The national decree of 28 October 2015, no. LB-15/0951 is repealed.
This national decree shall enter into force on December 15, 2015 and is published in the National Gazette.
Conclusion: a decision by the UP/Gumbs government which will enter into force 2 1/2 months after these ministers were "dismissed" by parliament. Undemocratic, Unlawful and Unacceptable!
Philipsburg, 29 October 2015
The Governor of Sint Maarten
The Minister of General Affairs
Dated 30 October 2015