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St. Maarten parliament still to handle 47 draft laws from Netherlands Antilles

FRIDAY, 28 JUNE 2013

PHILIPSBURG–Forty-seven draft laws and amendments primarily related to the Civil Code are still on Parliament’s agenda for approval. These drafts and amendments have been pending since the days of the last Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles.

Recently re-elected President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell told the press on Thursday that she hoped to see all these drafts and amendments approved by Parliament in August and September. “It is becoming unacceptable. It is taking too long to deal with the people’s business,” she said.

The pending draft laws and amendments deal with the establishment of trusts; child abuse reporting centres; regulating inheritance, gifts and marital property; insurance; rent; the revision of Book II of the Civil Code; regulating pension for civil servants; and changes to the administrative law.

The major delay with the approval of the laws is the verbatim transcribing of the minutes of numerous hearings held by Parliament in 2011 with stakeholders whom the changes would impact. The processing of the minutes was outsourced in February. The contractors have been requested “to speed up” the process.

“It is my utmost priority to have them done,” Arrindell said. “We are not going to wait for all the verbatim reports so, as soon as they come in, they will be sent to the members. During this recess month [July – Ed.], we will still be sending this information so the members can start reading these reports.”

Arrindell also will meet with new Justice Minister Dennis Richardson about the drafts and amendments. Richardson also will receive copies of the minutes of the hearing to prepare for his presentation to Parliament on the pending laws.

Aside from the 47 pending laws, six draft laws were submitted to Parliament by Members of Parliament (MPs) and the government so far for the 2012-2013 parliamentary year. Of those, four, including the 2013 budget and the law on the succession of the king, were approved by Parliament.

Pending are draft laws dealing with timeshare owners’ protection, amendments to the 2012 budget and the draft law on banning single-use plastic bags. Arrindell and MP Leroy de Weever, who submitted the timeshare-related laws, are to meet the Advisory Council about the contents soon.

Parliament had to complete eight Central Committee meetings that were adjourned in the past months. “We will have to deal with these expeditiously as well.”

MPs will receive a letter from Arrindell outlining the work to be carried out related to the laws and adjourned Central Committee meetings.

Another letter will go to the parliamentary fractions to name MPs to several of the various parliamentary committees. The membership of these committees will change, especially the chairman’s post, to reflect the new majority in Parliament.

A meeting with Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Rules of Order MP Lloyd Richardson (National Alliance) “to find out why the changes are not ready” is on Arrindell’s agenda. She wants to have the revised rules approved and ready for the new parliamentary year starting on the second Tuesday of September, as outlined in the Constitution.

She also intends to meet new Finance Minister Martin Hassink to chart the way forward with the approved 2013 budget and the preparations for the 2014 budget. The information will be shared by Arrindell with Parliament’s National Expenditure Committee.

A meeting of the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT and Parliament also is pending.

Arrindell intends to continue familiarising children with Parliament and its functions through school visits. She will expand on this with the organisation of an open house for the public in the near future, with the additional goal of promoting a closer relationship between MPs and the electorate.

The new Parliament President also will seek to further build relationships with her fellow MPs and work with them to improve the public’s view of parliamentarians. She called on MPs to be disciplined, especially by being present so meetings can start on time.

Arrindell met with Acting General Secretary Nancy Joubert on Tuesday, a day after she was re-elected as President of Parliament, to obtain an assessment of pending tasks. She cleared all incoming documents that had not been handled during the weeks of political crisis. Those documents were forwarded to MPs and other relevant institutions for information and handling.

She also met with the general staff of the secretariat of Parliament on Wednesday to “reintroduce” herself and learn whether there were pending matters to be handled.

Bron: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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