Prime minister: Parliament must sit out its full term

POSTED: 04/3/14 4:15 PM

St. Maarten - “Elections, regularly speaking, would have to take place at the time so that Parliament can complete its term of four years based on the constitutional article,” Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams emphasized during a radio interview over the weekend. The proposed election date, she said, during the beginning of September is something which was regulated by law and one which political parties agreed to prior to 10-10-10.

“When the decision was taken for Parliament to start on 10-10-10 automatically the consequence of that was that the new Parliament will take its seat on 10-10-14 which would mean, taking the necessary terms into consideration, that elections would have to take place in September,” the Prime Minister said on the program.

The PM also reiterated that if one takes into consideration all of the steps which must be taken before elections including political party registration and postulation and all of the time constraints according to law, the date of September 5th    will be arrived at. “There is only one possibility for the Parliament to not sit out its full term and that is the dissolving of Parliament by government. Those who drafted our constitution agreed to include the possibility of dissolving Parliament by the government,” the Prime Minister went on. “That is basically all the information the constitution provides for as far as government is concerned. That article also says that if Parliament is dissolved the new Parliament must take its seat no longer than three months after the dissolving. Already I have noted that if such a decision were to be carried out there could be issues related to the terms necessary as are required by our electoral law. This would mean that the government would have to make amendments to the law in order to comply with the 90 day requirement.”

“This is an additional complication as far as elections are concerned. So-called snap elections can only take place if Parliament is dissolved. When 10-10-10 was being considered for the date of a country I had my reservations which I expressed at that time but this had nothing to do with hurricanes but with the technicalities involved. My wish at the time was that the new election year starts in January. The DP was in opposition so the majority then decided on 10-10-10 with all of the subsequent consequences. The fact remains that now the DP is a part of government and I am responsible for an election date and I need to ensure that the work is done,” the Prime Minister concluded.


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