PHILIPSBURG - The parliament of St. Maarten has set aside this Thursday, December 7, 2017 to hear from the ministers individually and the Council of Minsters collectively on their plans and projects for the immediate recovery funding, Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams said on Tuesday.
“The parliament is still awaiting the final NRP (Ed National Recovery Plan) as announced, but what we see are initiatives being taken by the individual ministers, mostly uncoordinated, while an overall plan of action is lacking. 3 months following hurricane Irma, there is no excuse for the absence of this plan.”
“In addition, I have again reminded the Council of Ministers of the urgency of the draft ordinances that would establish the Integrity Chamber and the amended budget 2017.”
“Neither the draft ordinance Integrity Chamber or the amended budget 2017 has been received by the parliament. The president of Parliament reminds the government that there is a legislative process that must be followed in parliament before any ordinance can be passed, such as the mandatory handling in a central committee, reports and responses from government if necessary.
“With Parliament’s upcoming recess, government is requested to put some urgently in finalizing these drafts at government’s level.
“We await with much anticipation government’s response to the invitation to present government’s recovery projects, as again we have been reminded by amongst others, State Secretary R. Knops, that this plan of approach is also being awaited by the Dutch government to release any of the 3 financial funding streams, be it budgetary, early recovery projects or sustainable rebuilding. However, the 2017 budget and the Integrity Chamber are conditions that still apply.
“In addition, the mutual agreement on border control which seems to have been signed by the government of St. Maarten and the Dutch government is yet to be received by parliament and made public.
“There has been a lot of discussion about this border agreement, however it must be stated that from day one it was made clear that the expanded role of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee would resort under the St. Maarten Minister of Justice.
“In this light, the Minister of Justice of St. Maarten also needs to be clear on this agreement and its workings, if any, as far as our symbolic borders inside of St. Maarten are concerned.
“The public’s sentiment regarding this agreed upon border control is one of understanding as far as our external borders are controlled. However, there is some concern regarding this agreement enforcing controls between the two sides of the island.
“This in my opinion is a none issue, however it is the Minister’s responsibility to make this clear and emphasize the government’s stance that we respect and honor our dual island status, our people and our culture.”