Where is the NA/USP/DP governing program?

SMCP would like to commend MP drs. Rodolphe Samuel for representing Sint Maarten at Friday’s IPKO press conference on Curaçao. We feel proud, when Sint Maarteners are able to hold their own, especially when abroad. We are looking forward to MP Samuel and the rest of the Sint Maarten delegation (MP’s Sarah Wescot-Williams, Frans Richardson and Franklin Meyers), who attended the Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultations, to hold a press conference on Sint Maarten, to inform our people about the outcome of the IPKO conference.

On another note, SMCP would like to ask the NA/USP/DP coalition government: where is their governing program? After signing the governing accord some two months ago and after the swearing in of the coalition government on December 20th 2016, one month ago, it is reasonable to expect that, by now, the governing program would have been released and submitted to Parliament. We know that it is available because his Excellency Governor Holiday referred to it at the swearing-in ceremony on December 20th. In addition, the Honorable Prime Minister, William Marlin also made mention of it in his New Year’s address, when he said that the Government “has produced a governing program, titled Stability for Prosperity”. From the Governor’s reference as well as the Prime Minister’s statement, we conclude that the governing program is ready. Why has it not yet been released and submitted to Parliament? I have checked the websites of government and parliament, as well as the websites of the parties forming the coalition for the governing program, but these sites have not yet released “Stability for Prosperity” either.

Last year, I wrote that, in order for parliament to be able to carry out its supervisory and monitoring function, it must be in possession of the governing program. This program, as I proposed, should be officially submitted to parliament by government and debated by parliament, for the sake of the parliamentarians as well as the general public. During the campaign period, political parties were required to publish their manifestos, outlining the intentions the party once elected. By the same token, the coalition partners should also publish their governing program and make it available to the general public so that the people will also know what the coalition partners plan to do and they can consequently hold government accountable if it does not execute according to its governing program.

When the DP government was still in opposition in Parliament, MP Sarah Wescot-Williams was very adamant about the now defunct NA/UPP coalition submitting its governing program to Parliament. In a press release, dated October 12th 2016, MP Wescot-Williams wrote that her party awaits “the publication of the NA/UPP governing accord and we hope a governing program will soon follow. After all, none of them are new to this, however their past records of presenting governing programs are not encouraging”. She then went on to list some fifteen points that she expected the NA/UPP to address in their governing program. According to her press conference on January 6th 2017, MP Wescot-Williams mentioned that upon the forming of the current NA/USP/DP Government, “the three parties signed an agreement to work together, to support the government and develop a Red, White and Blue governing program”. Now that MP Wescot-Williams is a part of the coalition, we trust that she will continue to push for the governing program to be submitted as soon as possible to parliament and to the general public.

A governing program is very important, because it describes what the government plans to do and accomplish during its four-year governing period. It is also imperative, that Parliament receives the governing program as soon as possible, in order that it can begin to carry out its supervisory role adequately by monitoring decisions and controlling actions taken by the government. In other words, the governing programs will give Parliament something to measure government by. And by the way, SMCP hopes that Parliament would also present a plan of action for the next four years, in a public meeting, as well.

The SMCP expects that, within short, the Honorable Prime Minister William Marlin will present the 2016-2020 Governing Program “Stability for Prosperity”, in a public meeting, to parliament so that parliamentarians can be given the opportunity to ask questions and receive clarification concerning it. In addition, SMCP expects that copies of Stability for Prosperity will be disseminated to the general public and that the coalition government will also inform the people, via media as well as via public- and town hall meetings, about their plans to govern the country. If they did so during the campaign, it is incumbent on them to do so now that they are in government. We are looking forward to the unveiling of the mysterious NA/USP/DP governing program as soon as possible.

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