~ Presents Parliament’s first ever inquiry proposal ~
PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Member of Parliament Rolando Brison on Thursday presented before Parliament his faction’s initiative for a Parliamentary inquiry into Mullet Bay. It was a historic moment for the
Parliament of St. Maarten being the first time an MP submitted a proposal to initiate a Parliamentary inquiry. Brison said a Parliamentary Inquiry is the strongest tool the legislative body has at its disposal to address the many current issues related to Mullet Bay.
In a passionate statement to Parliament, MP Brison stressed that the people of St. Maarten should not have to wait another 24 years to get the truth on Mullet Bay and why the country has been held hostage for so long. “We do not know the truth and we do not have a way forward,” Brison said. “This inquiry will get us to the truth and will help define a way forward and end this situation,” he added.
“There are some MP’s that no matter what is presented, no matter what answers is given, I dont think I could convince them that this inquiry is good for St. Maarten. We have had various Island Councils, various Executive Councils, various governments since 10-10-10 and we are still here with no answers about Mullet Bay. 24 years and now (certain MP’s) want to ask questions and stand in the way of a vital inquiry,” Brison asked.
He added: “We have to start now to quell people thinking that they can own our beaches, our inland waterways and get away with economic hiatus for so long. They get away with all sorts of schemes, siphon money from insurance companies against the asset of Mullet Bay. It has to stop. I will put my all if Parliament allows this inquiry. We have to know why the situation at Mullet Bay was allowed, how did it happen and how do we ensure that it never happens again. That is why I stand fully behind this inquiry.”
He also noted that some of the questions MP’s asked on Thursday was exactly why an inquiry is needed since it is the only tool Parliament has at its disposal to get certain information from certain entities and persons who would be called under oath before Parliament.
Entitled “Proposal for Parliamentary Inquiry: Giving Mullet Bay Back to the People”, the proposal calls for an inquiry into the ownership of the Mullet Bay area (issues with certificates of admeasurements and lack of deeds), the current volatile situation that exists between its current owner, government and citizens, and the need for Parliament and Government to intervene in
every feasible way possible to protect one of its most precious coastal and inland waterways in the national interest of the country.
The document outlines four research objectives:
- Legislative shortcomings allowing for this problem to exist, and the effects of jurisprudence that may have resulted through litigation, particularly in regard to the
ownership of conflict zones such as the beach and the pond, and how these short comings should be addressed (New legislation, amended legislation, budgetary amendments, instructions to government by means of an amendment in the governing program).
2. What actions government can and should take to ensure the property is used in the best interest of the people of the country, being proactive ahead of potential irrevocable actions, such as auctions and/or settlements by the Central Bank, which may or may not be in the best interest of St. Maarten.
3. Finding a fully sustainable, environmentally friendly solution to the development of Mullet Bay, and continued protection of its natural resources – zoning, expropriation, assigning monument status.
4. The lack of economic activity for the area over 24 years and what this has cost the country, and what economic benefits could be derived from the country if it were developed in a sustainable manner.
The proposal calls for the inquiry to be executed in four phases: The preliminary information gathering Phase, Verification and Hearing Phase – the phase where the commission will be able to verify information, hear witnesses and seek advice from external entities for possible solutions, the Reporting Phase – The information is placed by the commission into a report and Conclusions and Actions – the conclusions from the report are delivered and debated by parliament, actions agreed, and the commission continues to follow up to ensure action is taken after the report is debated by Parliament.
The Mullet Bay Parliamentary inquiry Commission will consist of MP’s representing factions in Parliament. From beginning to end, MP Brison estimates the inquiry to take 32 weeks (8 months) at a rough estimate of Naf 519,000 which includes commission staff, legal consul, financial expertise, travel, communication, ect. MP Brison is of the opinion that the estimate cost of the inquiry (which could turn out to be less), is “well worth the effort of giving Mullet Bay back to the people.”
The inquiry document has also been modeled based on the two more recent Parliamentary inquiries that were filed within the kingdom, namely the 2011-2012 Parlementaire enquête naar het Financieel Stelsel in the Netherlands5 and the 2013-2015 Fyra Parlementaire enquête also in the Netherlands.