St. Maarten needs a PG of her own

In order to let the constitution work correctly, St. Maarten needs a procurator-general (PG) of her own. The person will have to be the judicial conscious of the people and see to it that each provision in the constitution is actually implemented, indicated main speaker Bob Wit during the first forum on the concept-constitution for the State of St. Maarten yesterday.

The former judge in the Netherlands Antilles, currently working with the Caribbean Court of Justice in Trinidad, continued in his ‘speech from the heart’ that he doesn’t understand why the Netherlands want to appoint just one PG that on top of that also received instructions from the Dutch minister. Wit says that the PG will this way never receive the trust of the local politicians.

Wit does agree with court review. “From experience we know that Parliament members and ministers in the Netherlands Antilles must not have the responsibility to match laws with the constitution.” Becoming a state has it’s advantages, but also has risks. Court review is a tool to supervise the politicians. The concept-constitution of St. Maarten was better than the constitutions of most countries in the region, because those countries do not have court review.

Another important aspect of the constitution is the requirement to balance the budget. A majority is needed in parliament to deviate from this. “We need a process where when necessary, we can call parliamentarians and politicians the account for their actions. A balanced budget is not easy to achieve. We need an outside power to make sure that politicians meet this requirement. The question is: do we let the Netherlands do that, or ourselves?”

The forum was organized by the University of St. Martin and the Bureau Political Affairs. The panel consisted of Reynold Groeneveldt, Ralph Richardson, and Robert Vennix. Project leader Political Changes Dennis Richardson led the discussion.

Commissioner of Political Affairs Sarah Wescot-Williams said last week that the series of forums are meant for giving the people an opportunity to discuss the constitution and make suggestions.

(Source: National Newspaper Amigoe)

July 4, 2008

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