In yet another letter to the Council of Ministers, the President of Parliament stresses the need for Parliament to be more involved, especially in these trying times. “One of the duties of Parliament is financial control (budget right). In practice this comes down to the right to question government, whether in writing or in meetings. The effectiveness of this stands or falls, dependent on the swift cooperation of Government. Otherwise answers and thus information is withheld from the parliament and the public unacceptably long.”
The President’s letter furthermore explains that “the Parliament wants to adjust its schedule to accommodate and prioritize Irma recovery related items and calls upon the Government to provide Parliament with the necessary information to analyze, and execute Parliament’s responsibilities.”
In our current governance structure, the relationship between Parliament and Ministers is one that is dictated by the Minister’s political responsibility to Parliament. How that plays out we have seen every time there is talk about Parliament’s lack of confidence in a Minister or in his/her performance. The above lends itself for hours of constitutional debate, but right now, today on St. Maarten, we need to adjust ourselves and our practices to the dire circumstances this island finds itself in and place the onus on the elected body. “Not break any rules, but to jointly agree to their application”, the President of Parliament explains.
The letter to the Government continues:
Of grave concern is the financial situation of the country. By separate mail, Government was asked to inform Parliament of the status of the draft ordinances, respectively budget amendment 2017 and budget 2018, currently at Parliament. Of utmost importance is what can be expected in terms of financial and or budgetary aid. Two immediate and viable sources are the Dutch Kingdom and the EU. Parliament requests that contact be made with aforementioned entities post haste to get clarity on the commitment, the sum involved, the conditions and any other relevant information regarding these sources.