PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – President of Parliament Drs. Gracita Arrindell, says with the Permanent Committees of Parliament in place, these committees can now get to work on a number of issues and challenges impacting the quality of life and social fabric of the country.
"I am now looking forward to receiving soonest the agenda of the recently established permanent committees. A working schedule was established in the first week of January, which allows among others the committee members to prepare and hold their respective meetings," President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell stated on Tuesday.
The eight permanent committees of parliament are: Committee of Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure; Committee of Justice; Committee of Finance; Committee of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications.
There are also the Committee of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs; Committee of Health Care, Social Development and Labour; Committee of Kingdom Affairs and Inter-parliamentary Relations; and the Committee for Petitions.
The eight permanent committees of parliament met mid-January where the chair and vice chair persons were appointed and plans of actions were to be compiled.
Besides internal issues impacting the well-being of our people, President of Parliament pointed out, "We also have external issues just as important if not more important. This is the issue of global warming.
"Rising sea levels due to global warming are threatening coastal countries and regions, according to experts. Countries will need to take mitigation and adaptation measures in order to remain habitable. Sint Maarten is no different. We are surrounded by water and our strategic economic infrastructures are at sea level eg. Sea port and airport facilities, hotel infrastructure, road network, coastal residential communities etc," President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell said on Tuesday.
In December, the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) took place in Cancun, Mexico. A number of decisions were concluded that would help countries advance towards a low-emissions future. Global warming is considered as today’s biggest challenge.
Some of the decisions taken include formalizing mitigation pledges and ensuring increased accountability for them, as well as taking concrete action to protect the world’s forests, which account for nearly one-fifth of global carbon emissions.
An agreement was also reached on establishing a fund for long-term climate financing to support developing countries, and bolstering technology cooperation and enhancing vulnerable populations’ ability to adapt to the changing climate.
"The agreement reached in Cancun is a very significant step forward to deal with climate change. Climate change is impacting us when we have more frequent and stronger hurricanes. We need to start discussing these types of issues among others and gather as much information we can so we can take the necessary legislative measures needed to protect our people and our country.
"We need to bring the level of discussion up to a Kingdom level and see what role the Kingdom will play and how we can tap into international funding that could be used to mitigate and adapt to the threats that exist. We need to protect our country for future generations. Climate change is just one issue out of many that are impacting the quality of life and socio-economic development of our country.
"The permanent committees of parliament play an integral role in bringing about legislative change, transparency of the issues, and holding members of parliament accountable to the people. Issues dealt with in these committees will lead to fundamental changes in the quality of life of the nation for the betterment of all," President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell said on Tuesday.