PHILIPSBURG--The tripartite meeting of Members of the Parliaments (MPs) of St. Maarten, Aruba and Curaçao to discuss a uniform stance on the installation of the kingdom dispute committee had a bit of a rocky start in St. Maarten Monday afternoon, but by early night the delegations had a draft motion worded the way they desired.
The motion and other related statements from the meeting are set to be signed at Parliament House this morning. More information about the content will be made public at that time. The opening of the meeting was public; afterward, the deliberations were held in camera.
Rene Herde, head of the Aruba Parliament Committee for Inter-Parliamentary Affairs and Kingdom Relations, said, "Solidarity was not enough. We need action." He said what had occurred in Aruba was "a symptom" of the growing issues in the kingdom. Those issues need to be worked out via "an independent organisation or institution" as provided for by the Statute of the Kingdom. MPs of the kingdom already have agreed to such a body, but it never has been executed.
A major hitch during the meeting was a request from the Curaçao delegation to change the wording of the meeting's agenda that dealt with the intervention of the Kingdom Government in the affairs of the Dutch Caribbean countries without proper basis.
This led to a suspension of the meeting by President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell, who chaired the opening session, before MP Roy Marlin (Democratic Party) took over in his position as chairman of the St. Maarten Parliament Committee for Inter-Parliamentary Affairs and Kingdom Relations.
The issues with the agenda were worked out and the meeting continued with another suspension of the session for about two hours to allow the delegations to review the text of the joint position they are expected to sign off on today and take back for the approval of their Parliaments. When that approval is given, the motion, which is expected to outline the way forward for the installation of a kingdom dispute committee or institution, will be sent to the Kingdom Government.
All three Presidents of Parliament expressed in the opening session that it was important for the countries to support each other, especially with two clear cases of the Kingdom Government compromising the countries' autonomy. Those cases are the instruction to the St. Maarten Governor to carry out an integrity investigation into government and an instruction to Aruba's Governor about that country's budget.
The Inter-Parliamentary Affairs and Kingdom Relations Committees of the three Dutch Caribbean countries came together for the urgent meeting in St. Maarten at the request of Aruba. The meeting originally was scheduled to start at 2:00pm, but flight delays hampered the arrival of some MPs, so the meeting started after 3:30pm.