PHILIPSBURG--Parliament will stay at its seven-seven tie for the meantime. Only six members, all of the governing coalition, were present and signed in for Monday morning’s meeting to vet the credentials of incoming substitute Member of Parliament Jules James.
Present for the meeting were United Democrats MPs Franklin Meyers, Tamara Leonard, Sidharth “Cookie” Bijlani, Chanel Brownbill, and Sarah Wescot-Williams and St. Maarten Christian Party MP Claude Peterson. Absent with notice was United Democrats MP Dr. Luc Mercelina.
No MP from opposition National Alliance or United St. Maarten Party were present nor gave notice of absence.
The meeting to vet James credentials and to deal with the approval of several important financial related laws will be reconvened by Wescot-Williams within short. Should that meeting also not receive a quorum, a third will be called at which however many members present can take decisions.
James is the next highest vote getter on the United Democrats 2018 Parliament Election slate who is not yet serving in the legislature or the Council of Ministers. He will be appointed a “deputy” as prescribed by the Constitution.
Heyliger’s seat became vacant almost two weeks ago when he was suspended under Article 50 of the Constitution due to his pretrial detention. He is currently being held in Bonaire pending further investigation into the Prosecutor’s Office’s allegations of corruption and money-laundering over a long period of time.
The aborted meeting is not only of vital importance to return the legislature to its full complement of 15 members, but also for the passage of the pending draft laws. Failure to pass the laws related to movement of money, money-laundering and the financing of terrorism -or rejection of those- can result is the listing of the country internationally as unsafe for financial transactions.