Published On: Sat, Apr 6th, 2019

Fight for fair dispute regulation continues

IPKO meeting Silveria Jacob - 10 Jan 2019

PHILIPSURG — Members of Parliament Rolando Brison, Silveria Jacobs, Tamara Leonard Claude Peterson will travel to the Netherlands for an April 13 to 21 mission to discuss the upcoming vote in the Dutch parliament about the draft dispute regulation State Secretary Raymond Knops submitted to parliament on November 29 of last year.

Knops’ draft does not sit well with the parliaments of St. Maarten, Curacao and Aruba. During an Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultation (Ipko) in 2015 the delegations of the Netherlands and the delegations of the three Caribbean constituent countries in the kingdom reached an historic agreement about the dispute regulation after five years of bitter arguments.

The delegations agreed that the dispute regulation had to be based on three pillars: an independent regulator, binding rulings and legal disputes between countries. State Secretary Knops submitted a draft law to the Second Chamber that ignored this agreement. The current draft law puts decisions about legal disputes in the hands of the Dutch Council of State and proposes to make its decisions non-binding. When push comes to shove, the Kingdom Council of Ministers can shove a ruling by the Council of State aside.

The Caribbean delegations have the option to submit motions and amendments to the draft law, but the final say about the legislation is in the hands of the Second Chamber in The Hague. They may find some solace in the fact that the Dutch parliament passed a motion submitted by PvdA-MP Roelof van Laar in the past: that motion acknowledges that rulings from an independent authority on legal disputes should be binding.

The delegations of St. Maarten, Aruba and Curacao arrive well ahead of time in The Hague to discuss the draft law with Dutch parliamentarians, because the vote on the law is scheduled for the latter part of June.

National Alliance stalwart MP William Marlin offered a bleak perspective on the outcome of the talks: “At the end of the day we are nothing but colonies. We need to start the discussion about an independent nation,”

Parliament’s chairlady MP Sarah Wescot-Williams said that the three delegations will travel to The Hague “with a common vision.”

The delegation of Aruba prepares the schedule of meetings with Dutch parliamentarians.

The deliberations about the mission to The Hague took place in a meeting of the central committee of parliament on Friday morning; it was the first time substitute MP Jules James appeared in a meeting since he was sworn in by governor Holiday earlier this week.

MP Rolando Brison referred to the transfer of United Democrats leader Theo Heyliger from the prison in Bonaire to St. Maarten. “Welcome home,” Brison said, though Heyliger will not be going home at all; he will be detained at the sick bay of the Pointe Blanche prison.

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