Kingdom affairs committee gives government 48 hours to get act together

POSTED: 05/7/15 1:09 PM

St. Maarten – The Permanent Committee of Kingdom Affairs met on Tuesday morning in preparation for the Inter-Parliamentary Consultation of the Kingdom (IPKO) conference in the Netherlands from May 25th to May 29th. The council of Ministers is still to answer pertinent questions from the committee who submitted several questions to the council weeks ago. Members of the committee believe that it is vital for the sector heads and Ministers to come with answer to the questions, this will allow the Members of parliament to be prepared for the meetings in the Netherlands.

Acting chair of the committee, Member of Parliament (MP) Cornelius de Weever opened the meeting after 10AM on Tuesday and received the approval of the decision list for the IPKO meeting. The second agenda point dealt with the preparation of the delegation, De Weever agreed with the members that ample time was given to the council of Ministers for all questions to be answered. The acting chairman will once again send the questions to the council of Ministers for answers with a 48 hour deadline. If the ministers fail to answer all questions from the committee, they will be called to parliament for questioning as he stated enough time was given to the council.

MP Leona Marlin Romeo stated that she is concerned about lack of answers from the ministers, “If they need to come to parliament, then that should be done”. The regulation on pay back arrangements for student scholarships still has to be regulated. She went on to state that this is only regulated on the BES islands and St Maarten and Curacao have no official regulation yet. MP De Weever mentioned that government’s position on illegal immigrants needs to be addressed and agreed upon for the delegation to be prepared for the talks.

The Inter Parliamentary Kingdom Consultation (IPKO) is a meeting that takes place twice a year where delegations from the Parliaments of the four countries in the Kingdom meet and discuss a number of issues such as energy, health care, integrity, education, etc. The meeting in January is always hosted by one of the Caribbean countries of the Kingdom whilst the meeting later in the year is hosted by the Netherlands.

The intention of these meetings is to discuss issues that are of common interest or affect the populations of the countries in one way or the other. In addition to that it is a good opportunity for the parliamentarians to meet their peers from the other countries to establish that personal contact.

The last IPKO was held from January 6-9, 2015, in Aruba. St. Maarten is set to host an IPKO in January of 2016, just like it did in 2012 when the first IPKO in the new constellation was held. At the end of each IPKO, a list of agreements is signed by the delegation leader of each delegation. Throughout the year the execution of the agreements made are monitored by each country.

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