The Council of Ministers on Wednesday, October 21st 2009, approved the draft law to amend the Island Regulation 1951 on the proposal of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Constitutional Affairs Roland Duncan.
The draft law- which is part of the package of legislation executing constitutional change- encompasses the following changes:
– The Island Regulation will be amended to allow the increase of the number of Commissioners for the island territory of Sint Maarten from five (5) to seven (7). This amendment will go into effect once the law is promulgated. These additional Commissioners cannot be members of the Island Council. A maximum of five (5) island council members are allowed to be Commissioners at the same time.
By increasing the number of commissioners, the Executive Council of Sint Maarten will be better able to handle the additional authority, powers and work-load resulting from the transfer of powers and authority to the territory from the Central Government. In country St. Maarten there shall be seven (7) ministries, which can be mirrored before the new status goes into effect because of this amendment to the Island Regulation.
– The Island Regulation will also be amended to increase the Island Council of the island territory of Sint Maarten to fifteen (15) council members. This however will only become effective after the next island council election.
– In addition, the Island Regulation will be amended to allow the Island Councils of St. Maarten and Curacao to be dissolved prematurely- -before their terms of office expire- – thereby creating the possibility of early elections for the Island Councils to introduce the parliaments of the new countries in 2010.
The draft law has been forwarded to the Council of Advice for advice, as well as to the island territories for their comments. Once the required responses are received the draft legislation will be submitted to Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles, where a two thirds majority vote is needed for approval.
Minister Duncan will strive to have this draft legislation approved by Parliament before the end of this year, so that it can become effective along with other constitutional legislation already in progress, such as the draft ordinance to transfer the powers and authority of the Central Government, which is already at the Council of Advice.
The draft legislation is a further necessary and important step in the constitutional process; moving
Sint Maarten closer to country status.