PHILIPSBURG--Members of Parliament (MPs) who were eligible to participate in Latin American Parliament (Parlatino) Committee meetings to be held in Panama on August 18 and 19 have declined to participate in the meetings.
The MPs declined during a meeting of the Central Committee of Parliament on Monday, where the approval of the composition of the delegation and provisions for MPs to participate in the committee meetings was an agenda point.
According to the schedule eligible to participate in the meetings would have been United People’s (UP) party MP Rolando Brison and independent MP Christophe Emmanuel (who would have been participating in a meeting of Parlatino’s Committee of Economic Affairs, Social Debt and Regional Development); UP MP Grisha Heyliger-Marten and National Alliance (NA) MP George Pantophlet (Committee of Labour, Social and Legal Affairs); and NA MP Angelique Romou and United Democrats (UD) MP Sarah Wescot-Williams (Committee of Human Rights Justice and Prison Policies).
Heyliger-Martin was the first to indicate that she would not be participating in the meeting as there are already many meetings on the St. Maarten Parliament’s schedule for this week. The next MP who would have been eligible to attend in Heyliger-Marten’s absence would have been Romou.
Brison first asked whether it would have been okay to travel given some social unrest in Panama. Heyliger-Marten said travel to Panama is not hampered. Brison then asked when the delegation would be required to leave and was told on Wednesday. He then indicated that he would not be able to attend.
Wescot-Williams “respectfully declined” and reiterated sentiments expressed in the past that the discussion regarding the “bang for the buck” that St. Maarten is getting for its participation in Parlatino meetings vis a vis participation in other Parliamentary bodies is “far from over.”
She said also that Parliament is still awaiting answers from government on participation in regional bodies, amongst other issues. “Thank you, but no thanks, for the travel to Parlatino,” stated Wescot-Williams, adding that the issue of regional collaboration needs to be picked back up by government.
Romou, Pantophlet and Emmanuel also declined to participate in the meeting. “For obvious reasons, and you know exactly why, I’m declining to attend the Parlatino meeting at this time,” stated Pantophlet.
Heyliger-Marten said that as no MP will be attending the Parlatino Committee meetings, Parlatino will be informed as soon as possible of this.