Published On: Wed, Nov 14th, 2018

MP Brison: “Chair of Parliament seems to use her ‘prerogative’ just at a whim”

MP Rolando Brison Live-Streaming Review of Parliament Meeting

Philipsburg — Parliament held two continuation meetings regarding the repercussions of the verdict by the European Court of Human Rights in the Corallo case for the country St. Maarten and the Ministry of Justice of St. Maarten and regarding the Status of Tax Reform on St. Maarten. The meetings were a continuation of public meetings #7 and #8, the letter being initially held on Monday, November 5, 2018. On Monday, November 12, the meetings proved to be another interesting display of parliamentary tactics and procedural moves, resulting in MP Rolando Brison calling for a motion against the chair of Parliament. What exactly transpired?

United St. Maarten Member of Parliament and faction leader, Rolando Brison has launched an interesting and innovative interactive post-Parliamentary meeting review program via Facebook Live. The program, co-hosted by National Alliance Member of Parliament Ardwell Irion, was first aired live on Friday, November 9, 2018, after the public session of Parliament with the Minister of Education, Wycliffe Smith, about the ongoing phenomenon of school fights wherein a motion was submitted by SMCP member of Parliament, Claude “Chaco” Peterson and hastily passed by the coalition of eight (UD and SMCP). The passed motion, now a resolution, has been dubbed a “redundant,” “contradictory” and “reactive” motion calling for the Minister of Education to draft and present a safe school plan to Parliament within 60 days and report on its progress within 30 days.

However, when MP Brison himself wanted to present a motion on Monday during the continuation meeting #7 about the Status of Tax Reform on St. Maarten, the President of Parliament, quickly closed off the meeting citing having to be elsewhere that afternoon. The motion MP Brison wanted to present regarded proposals to address the issue of AirBNB operations on St. Maarten. The MP had already caucused with opposition members and lobbied coalition members, including MP Theo Heyliger, to support his motion. However, an indication of the troubles that were to come, was already evident when MP Brison’s request to the chair of Parliament to elucidate his motion with a Powerpoint presentation was turned down by the President of Parliament with the statement that she would explain later.

That explanation never came. The meeting was abruptly closed and when MP Brison objected with a point of order asking why the meeting could not be continued under the chairmanship of the second vice president of Parliament, the chairlady spoke on behalf of the second vice president of Parliament, MP Claude “Chacho” Peterson, who was also present in the meeting hall, and said that MP Peterson also could not chair the meeting due to a prior engagement as well. The broadcast of the meeting had already ceased, however, according to MP Brison, he then stated that a vote against the closing of the meeting should be called for, to which the chairlady simply laughed and closed the meeting. It should be noted that the first vice chair of Parliament is MP Theo Heyliger, who was absent as he had already left the building on personal business.

In an invited comment MP Roland Brison wrote to StMaartenNews.com:
“Today it was very unfortunate to see that the chair of parliament seems to use her “prerogative” just at a whim, and does not even ensure that vice chairs of parliament are available to continue the meeting. We were presenting motions and there was really no reason that this meeting could not have ended within an hour, and the second vice chair of parliament was there. Why did she speak for him? Why didn’t he accept the role that he was elected for by his peers and be the vice chair of parliament?”

In an invited comment MP Claude “Chacho” Peterson wrote to StMaartenNews.com:
“As mentioned by the Chairlady: she had a personal engagement and I also had an engagement which could not be adjusted at the last minute when it became known that both the Chair and first chair would not be available. Unfortunately these things happen and it should [have been made known, – ed.] earlier in the meeting.”

Sarah Thanos Wescot-Williams Cartoon

Caption: In honor of the passing of Marvel’s creator Stan Lee on Monday, November 12th, 2018, we publish a cartoon with a cameo appearance of Stan Lee as The Third Vice President of Parliament. Cartoon drawn by James Baggett.


Relevant links:
Monday’s Livestream video review of Parliament’s meeting by MPs Brison and Irion:

Friday’s Livestream video review of Parliament’s meeting by MPs Brison and Irion:

Facebook Live broadcast of Parliament meetings Monday:

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