The people’s business

The people’s business

Monday is May 20, well over four months after St. Maarten went to the polls on January 11. However, two of the 15 elected representatives are still to take their legislative seats.

Granted, they only obtained such – as the candidates next in line based on personal votes – when other Members of Parliament (MPs) of their respective parties stepped down to become Ministers in the new URSM/DP/PFP/NOW government. Nevertheless, the first meeting to examine the credentials of the latter’s successors Richinel Brug (URSM) and Viren Vinod Kotai (DP) was called for May 2, exactly two weeks ago.

There was no quorum because only three coalition members (from the six left) attended. All others were absent, in a few cases with notice.

The opposition factions of NA and UP helped form a quorum four days later but then asked for a roll call and walked out after a request to change the agenda and first handle changes to the Presidium was denied by President of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams (DP).

The plan is to try again, possibly on Monday, and political observers are curious to see what happens. It’s customary for legislators to cooperate with installing incoming colleagues, irrespective which side of the aisle they are on.

However, the opposition was critical of remaining coalition members not being present, arguing that it’s first and foremost their responsibility. Hopefully they will indeed all show up on the next occasion.

The reason some didn’t before may have to do with Governor Ajamu Baly’s refusal to sign national decrees for NOW-leader Christophe Emmanuel and former PFP parliamentarian Raeyhon Peterson to join the executive branch. These have been returned to Prime Minister and ex-“formateur” Luc Mercelina.

That matter might well end up in court while the Mercelina I Cabinet governs with five rather than the usual seven ministers, of whom two are consequently handling double portfolios on an interim basis.

But regardless of the final outcome, it’s high time Parliament as the highest democratic body in the country gets restored to its full complement of 15 seats, so “the people’s business” can properly be handled as intended.

The Daily Herald

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