SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - During the opening session of the recently concluded IPKO meetings held on January 6th and 7th, St. Maarten was unable to articulate a position on the decolonization trajectory that a majority of Parliament has decided to undertake and so, opines United Democrats (UD) Member of Parliament, Wescot-Williams, the Parliament of Sint Maarten has missed the opportunity to tell the world where it stood on the constitutional future of this country.
This was not surprising because this articulation and defending the stance on decolonization has not been forthcoming on St. Maarten, either in the Parliament or otherwise. Nevertheless, the motion of November 5, 2020, by a majority could have legal consequences for the country, the MP stated.
“I have recently requested a meeting of the committee for Constitutional Affairs and Decolonization of the Parliament and I have asked questions to those responsible for executing the decisions of Parliament, including the aforementioned motion. The Presidium of Parliament is responsible to execute the decisions of Parliament. Central to my questions, is the question: What kind of legal agreements have been established on the basis of the motion regarding decolonization that was passed on November 5th of last year?
The Government finds itself in a rather awkward position on this matter. According to the Government, it was pressured into distancing itself from talk of decolonization and in particular the issue of decolonization versus the Charter of the Dutch Kingdom.” Wescot-Williams explains.
On the other hand, you have an existing motion of Parliament that not only recognizes but endorses the position that the kingdom charter is an unconstitutional document.
The Government has thus distanced itself from a foundation, but whose legal actions have been endorsed by the Parliament of Sint Maarten.
It was baffling to hear the representative of St. Maarten in the IPKO meeting attempt to explain the purpose of the Constitutional and Decolonization Committee of Parliament. No wonder you had members of other delegations who continued to stress the point because St. Maarten could not deliver an articulate position on where it stands on this matter.
If the Government is serious about backing down on the matter of decolonization, they also have to revisit a letter from the Prime Minister sometime late last year, in which the Government endorsed decolonization in a lengthy letter to Parliament.
In fact, this letter concludes with the following quote by the Prime Minister: “I am of the opinion that finalizing the decolonization can and should be started as soon as possible, it will both benefit international reputation of the kingdom of the Netherlands and therefore Sint Maarten and its sister islands and allow for the sustainable social economic development and prosperity of the people of St. Maarten.”
With this type of a statement, one would think that the Prime Minister would want to see this whole decolonization as an important part of the very agreement signed with the Dutch Government, in which they talk about sustainable social economic development.
MP Wescot-Williams is of the opinion, that it therefore behooves the Government to not only retrack or distance itself from third party positions regarding decolonization and regarding the Charter of the Kingdom, but also to give a clear position on the matter, given what the very same Government has told parliament. What or who are we to believe?
“This is not a matter of the independence/free mandate [sic] of Parliament versus the Government. The coalition-government supported by a majority in Parliament needs to make it clear to the people of St. Maarten where they stand on this matter. If we sit back again and feel that we acted clever by distancing ourselves from the matter, because it was a condition by the Dutch Government, and yet feel that below the radar, we are going to continue to do what we want, it’s going to come back to bite us sooner rather than later”, the MP concluded.