Sidebar

19
Sun, Apr
0 New Articles

Typography

This is proving to be a very testing period for democracy in St. Maarten with too many of the country's political elite – the main players in the struggle to build and uphold democracy here – seemingly slipping seamlessly in and out of their assumed roles as protagonist today, antagonist tomorrow. It is a dangerous game of St. Maarten Roulette that is being played and it is placing immense strain on peaceful coexistence within the body politic, a key pillar of and for the national stability essential for growth and progress.

From all indications the government, aided by its supporting cast in Parliament, seems intent on wrapping up consideration of the draft 2012 budget when Parliament convenes in plenary session on Monday.

It seems also that unless Monday's plenary session is postponed or arrangements are made for the seven ministers to appear in Parliament on Monday in conformity with the wishes of the opposition, or some other time before the final plenary session to handle the said budget, the nation will have been treated to one of the most farcical episodes to date in its brief parliamentary history.

Indeed, we believe the opposition National Alliance and independent member Frans Richardson are on solid ground in insisting that the ministers should appear before Parliament and present and defend their policies and the financial resources allocated to their respective ministries, before the budget is approved.

Anything short of that should be considered undemocratic, non-transparent, lacking in accountability, and a fine example of poor governance. Indeed, anything short of that should be viewed as an abandonment of respect for the electorate specifically and the people of St. Maarten generally.

Regrettably, the government and its supporting Members of Parliament have been giving the public the impression that they are running and ducking from their responsibility to be transparent and accountable in their handling of the country's fiscal and other affairs. This causes raised eyebrows, especially as it has become increasingly evident that the government is likely to end up with a pretty big hole in its supposedly balanced budget.

The Committee for Financial Supervision CFT, for example, has already expressed concerns about the practicability of the government collecting some NAf. 48 million in back rental tax apparently owed by non-resident condo owners and has said it will see to it that "adequate measures will be taken to maintain the budget in balance" if it appears during the year that the projected revenue will not be realised.

We believe there is still time for sound judgement and good sense to prevail and that during the coming week those who currently constitute the majority in Parliament and form the government will forget the urge to score a pyrrhic victory and instead opt to do the right thing by not proceeding with the approving of the budget before the ministers have complied with the opposition's request to present and defend their policies and budgetary allocations.

There is still time to do what is right and just!

This is proving to be a very testing period for democracy in St. Maarten with too many of the country's political elite – the main players in the struggle to build and uphold democracy here – seemingly slipping seamlessly in and out of their assumed roles as protagonist today, antagonist tomorrow. It is a dangerous game of St. Maarten Roulette that is being played and it is placing immense strain on peaceful coexistence within the body politic, a key pillar of and for the national stability essential for growth and progress.

From all indications the government, aided by its supporting cast in Parliament, seems intent on wrapping up consideration of the draft 2012 budget when Parliament convenes in plenary session on Monday.

It seems also that unless Monday's plenary session is postponed or arrangements are made for the seven ministers to appear in Parliament on Monday in conformity with the wishes of the opposition, or some other time before the final plenary session to handle the said budget, the nation will have been treated to one of the most farcical episodes to date in its brief parliamentary history.

Indeed, we believe the opposition National Alliance and independent member Frans Richardson are on solid ground in insisting that the ministers should appear before Parliament and present and defend their policies and the financial resources allocated to their respective ministries, before the budget is approved.

Anything short of that should be considered undemocratic, non-transparent, lacking in accountability, and a fine example of poor governance. Indeed, anything short of that should be viewed as an abandonment of respect for the electorate specifically and the people of St. Maarten generally.

Regrettably, the government and its supporting Members of Parliament have been giving the public the impression that they are running and ducking from their responsibility to be transparent and accountable in their handling of the country's fiscal and other affairs. This causes raised eyebrows, especially as it has become increasingly evident that the government is likely to end up with a pretty big hole in its supposedly balanced budget.

The Committee for Financial Supervision CFT, for example, has already expressed concerns about the practicability of the government collecting some NAf. 48 million in back rental tax apparently owed by non-resident condo owners and has said it will see to it that "adequate measures will be taken to maintain the budget in balance" if it appears during the year that the projected revenue will not be realised.

We believe there is still time for sound judgement and good sense to prevail and that during the coming week those who currently constitute the majority in Parliament and form the government will forget the urge to score a pyrrhic victory and instead opt to do the right thing by not proceeding with the approving of the budget before the ministers have complied with the opposition's request to present and defend their policies and budgetary allocations.

There is still time to do what is right and just!