Patricia Pantophlet: Advisory Councils Under Threat

Dear Mr. Editor

First of all I want to be clear that my views are in no way questioning the Government’s role as decision maker and certainly not debating the capability or ability of Ms. R. Labega.


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After reading the/listening to the Deputy Prime Minister chastising the Corporate Governance Council (CGC) on its obviously unwelcomed and probably unexpected advice and followed later by a tirade of criticism by his fellow colleagues, Minister Duncan, the Prime Minister and Minister Meyers, I wondered whether I missed something. From the onset it was clear that the (CGC) offered an advised (requested or not). Mind you I am in no way defending the (CGC), as it has proven to be quite capable of defending itself.

I am defending the rights and critical role of any and every legally democratically established advisory body/council within this society. The emphasis is on advisory. By its actions, the Council of Ministers is seriously undermining the (CGC) and if allowed will do the same with other advisory bodies such as the CGOA, the Social-and Economic Council and the "soon" to be establish Gaming Authority. Scenario: It was reported recently that IMF officials are scheduled to visit St. Maarten to "hold" discussions. What happens if based on IMF recommendations the Government decides to permanently remove, reduce or suspend vacation allowance and the CGOA advises against it (it happened before and who is to say it won’t happen again) will the Council of Ministers beat itself on the proverbial chest and say: we are the elected officials, we decide and CGOA don’t have anything to say. An advisory body/council has a role to play and should be allowed to play that role without being undermined in that fashion.

As a former Union President and more so as a citizen of this "Country" I believe that this development sets a dangerous precedent and must not be allowed to take root. No Government should be above the Law and no advisory body/council should be used as a rubber stamp.

Patricia Pantophlet