~ Despite MPs having documents since November 2013 ~
PHILIPSBURG--The Central Committee of Parliament was unable to deal with several treaty amendments and adjustments to kingdom regulations, because several Members of Parliament said they wanted to err on the side of caution by first getting an expert on the issues to better explain the topics to them. President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell adjourned the multi-pointed debate on Tuesday, when dealing with the second agenda point on establishing the fishing zones of the Kingdom in the Caribbean.
In response to calls by MPs for more information and explanation, Arrindell pointed out several times that MPs have been in possession of the package of documents on the amendments to the treaties and regulations since November 2013. The topics were all discussed in Parliament's Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations and Inter-Parliamentary Affairs, a committee opened to all MPs, she noted.
Arrindell also told MPs that they have to be conscious that changes to treaties and other related regulations sent to Parliament by the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament, has a deadline for completion is attached to them, and if Parliament did not make its input by the deadline, the changes will be made by the Kingdom with St. Maarten appearing to have no objections.
She will review the deadlines for all the pending agenda points and work out with Kingdom Relations Committee Chairman MP Roy Marlin (Democratic Party) and Parliament General Secretary Jozef Semeleer on how to get the experts needed to Parliament, so the deadlines can be met by Parliament.
The meeting will resume, once the necessary experts are lined up to give MPs an overview of the information they were given in the documents and to answer any questions they may have. One of the experts is expected to be former Lt. Governor Attorney Ralph Richardson, who has assisted Parliament in the past.
The expert(s) will discuss in depth the adjustment of the Kingdom's fishing zones in the Caribbean, the withdrawal of a section of the convention dealing with economic, social and cultural rights and similar changes to the related European Union charter, and changes to the Kingdom Law on Dutch Citizenship. The latter had to do with the increase of the number of years, from five to seven, for people who want to become naturalized Dutch citizens.
Prior to the adjournment, MPs approved changes to the international treaty signed in Beijing, China, on aviation, particularly to combat criminality in the field of aviation and the illegal use of aeroplanes.
When MPs got to the handling of the redrawing of the fishing zones among St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius, to reflect the constitutional changes since 10-10-10, independent (former National Alliance) MP Dr. Lloyd Richardson said he wanted to know how the Coast Guard will handle the fishing zones adjustment and what were the distinctions from the present circumstance to what the changes will bring into force. He specifically asked for the nautical coordinates that reflect the pending changes, because he felt this was important for the Harbour Group of Companies to know.
MP Leroy de Weever (DP) said he wanted to know how the changes will impact St. Maarten fishermen and leisure boaters. He pointed out that the reassigning of the fishing zones will mean the rules of the Netherlands will apply for Saba and St. Eustatius. Fishermen and boaters will have to deal with regulations applicable in the North Sea.
MP Louie Laveist (NA) said MPs had to be "careful that nothing comes back to haunt us" as the approval of the National Ordinance on the registration and financing of political parties, which MPs, in a meeting with the Electoral Council on Monday, admitted was approved hastily in 2010. "I don't want us to have a deadline that will come back to haunt us."
Tuesday's Central Committee meeting had started on March 19, and was adjourned after MPs agreed to establish an ad hoc committee to plan for a new parliament building, as well as the establishment of the President of Parliament Excellence Award. It was decided on Tuesday that those two agenda points will be sent on to a plenary session of Parliament for finalization, instead of having them further delayed by the other incomplete agenda points.
The reason for that adjournment was the absence of Democratic Party (DP) MP Roy Marlin, who heads the Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations and Inter-Parliamentary Affairs. MPs present had argued that Marlin should have been present for the March 19th meeting to give an overview of the treaty amendments and the changes to the kingdom regulations.
Marlin was absent with notice from Tuesday's meeting due to illness.