Published On: Tue, May 7th, 2024

UP/NA Opposition submit urgent request to vet documents of incoming MPs

PHILIPSBURG — In light of recent developments regarding the vetting process for incoming Members of Parliament, the opposition members in Parliament representing the United People’s Party (UP) and the National Alliance (NA) have formally submitted a letter to the President of Parliament, the Honourable Sarah Wescot-Williams, urgently requesting that the vetting of the documents for incoming MPs not be further delayed and that it be handled by Friday this week.

The honourable Omar E.C. Ottley and the honourable Silveria Jacobs, faction leaders two largest political parties  issued a joint press release on Tuesday afternoon in which they clarified the stance of the “Super Seven” Members of Parliament regarding the delay in vetting the documents for the incoming members of Parliament who will replace Dr Luc Mercelina of the Unified Resilient St. Maarten Movement (URSM), now Prime Minister and Grisha Heyliger-Marten of the Democratic Party (DP), now Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation & Telecommunication (TEATT).

The letter issued by the UP/NA factions in Parliament requests the urgent handling of the Vetting process to review and accept the credentials of the incoming MPs. The members are also seeking clarity on the resignation of the former MPs who are now members of the Council of Ministers in the Executive Branch of Government.

“Following the Coalition Government’s failure to ensure the timely vetting of incoming Parliamentarians’ documents, a narrative has emerged suggesting that the Super Seven Members are deliberately delaying this process. It is crucial to emphasize that we are not opposed to performing the administrative duty of vetting the documents of the incoming members of Parliament and welcoming them to the floor of Parliament to commence their service to St. Maarten,” the release stated.

The members submitted the letter to Parliament on Tuesday, following Monday’s Public Meeting of Parliament, in which they attempted to voice their concerns regarding the handling of the meeting. The release states that the UP/NA members of Parliament will ensure that the work of Parliament continues post haste.

“Our concern lies with the Coalition’s failure to ensure that this matter was handled promptly when they still had a majority in Parliament. It is evident that the formation process lacked the transparency our elected officials and the general public have come to expect as a standard and that this may have been, in part, responsible for the creation of the vacuum that was left when the two former members of Parliament resigned before securing their replacement.”

No one should overlook this failure as it shows a lack of experience and proper planning, and the people of St. Maarten deserve to be made aware of this lapse in responsibility explained MP Ottley.

MP Doran added, “I have witnessed firsthand the chaos and lack of transparency within the new coalition. It’s concerning to see the uncertainty within the public. The coalition should be honest with the public instead of playing games within and casting the blame on the NA/UP factions.”

They are requesting that the Public Meeting of Parliament be convened so that the work for the people of St. Maarten can continue without unnecessary hindrance.

The seven parliamentarians have reiterated their “unwavering commitment” to uphold the principles of democracy and accountability in serving the best interests of the people of St. Maarten.

“We will not falter in this duty. As we navigate through this process, we remain committed to ensuring that the voices of the people, the true backbone of our democracy, are not just heard but also respected and acted upon in Parliament.”

The UP/NA factions underscored the significance of a functioning Parliament to support the recently sworn-in Executive Branch of Government and effectively serve the people of St. Maarten and urged that the meeting be convened before Friday May 10, 2024.