12 SEPTEMBER 2013
PHILIPSBURG–The Council of Ministers will be discussing establishing clear structures for the relationships between government-owned companies and their shareholder (government) and government-owned companies and Parliament. Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams said on Wednesday that she had taken note of the matters raised by various Members of Parliament (MPs) on this issue. ]
She said the shareholder representatives of government-owned companies had changed following the dismantling of the Netherlands Antilles. Under the former Island Territory St. Maarten, the Lt. Governor was the shareholder representative for government-owned companies. Under the current constitutional set up, Country St. Maarten is the shareholder. Government as shareholder had started the practice of appointing speciﬁc ministers responsible for the area as its shareholder representative.
However, she said that there are no clear outlines as to the relationships between the shareholder representative and the shareholder and the shareholder and Parliament. “I have already drafted what would be submitted to the Council of Ministers for discussion, that we should make it clear how the process should take place,” Wescot-Williams said, adding that guidelines can be established for the relationship between the shareholder (Government of St. Maarten) and Parliament (which represents the people of St. Maarten).
A comprehensive overview of how the companies are doing is also needed. These companies, Wescot-Williams said, need to be able to give account to Parliament. “I expect to put some structure to this relationship so that indeed, as Parliament is asking and enquiring for information, it would be clear how that information would be given, by when and by whom this information would be submitted,” she explained. “As soon as we have this discussion in the Council of Ministers, I will brief you on that procedure … and hopefully we would get a decision on the process of government-owned company, shareholder representative, shareholder and the shareholders’ accountability to Parliament [and see to it-Ed.] that this process is outlined clearly and is followed in the case for every government-owned company.”
She said that there are some government-owned companies that fall under a speciﬁc chapter in the Civil Code that deals with organisations. “However, the way it is right now you would have where a minister, for example, would take decisions or give agreements to all matters pertaining to a government-owned company.”
Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten