PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – United St. Maarten Party (USP) Member of Parliament (MP) Claudius Buncamper has sent a letter to the Chairlady of the Ad-Hoc Committee for Electoral Reform, MP Grisha Heyliger-Marten, requesting that she convenes a meeting to address the matter of Electoral Reform, starting with an evaluation of the existing proposals that aim to address the current situation with the objective to present a legislative amendment.
MP Buncamper stated in his letter to the Chairlady that during the most recently held parliamentary election all political parties that contested that election raised the issue of electoral reform with the main concern being the ease with which parliament is dissolved, resulting in early elections. The consequence of government losing the confidence of parliament has more often than not resulted in the Prime Minister dissolving parliament by invoking article 59 of the constitution of St. Maarten.
MP Buncamper expressed his concerns with, among other things, the costs associated with the outgoing members of the various cabinets in the form of severance pay and other benefits, and the interruption of continuity in government.
In his letter the MP indicated that the lawmakers at the time of passing the electoral legislation and establishment of policies surely did not take into consideration a situation in which instability in government would be as frequent as it has proven to be in St. Maarten during the last ten years.
“Our country needs stability and the ability to operate in an environment which is conducive to creating such stability” the MP said. “Parliament, therefore, has the responsibility to pass the necessary legislation to create that environment.”
Lastly, the MP said that he would like the committee to address the severance pay and benefits currently enjoyed by the outgoing ministers and parliamentarians after a dissolution of parliament, in the context of the budgetary burden on the country’s treasury as well as the influence this may have on the Prime Minister’s decision to dissolve parliament.