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MPs close off fourth year of Parliament

Source: The Daily Herald 10 Sep 2014 12:34 AM

PHILIPSBURG--The 2013-2014 parliamentary year closed on Monday with several Members of Parliament (MPs) taking the opportunity to give a farewell speech outlining their accomplishments, hopes for the new parliamentary year and for the incoming government.

Based on the Constitution, the parliamentary year must close before the second Tuesday in September – the official opening of the new parliamentary year. The opening will take place today, Tuesday, at Parliament House, with Governor Eugene Holiday delivering the traditional governor's speech containing government's plans for the coming year.

At Monday's session, outgoing independent MP Romain Laville said being an MP has been "one of the greatest experiences" he has had in life. He submitted a stack of his motions and pending legislation to Parliament to serve as "a foundation" for the new Parliament to take office on October 10. Laville did not contest the August 29 elections.

Independent (re-elected) MP Frans Richardson said the past four years have "not been easy," but MPs "worked as hard as they could under the circumstances." He said the new Parliament needs "to get the tools to function" and "the right people" to help with drafting legislation.

Democratic Party ((DP)) fraction leader MP Roy Marlin said the Inter-Parliamentary Affairs and Kingdom Relations Committee of Parliament needs to continue its work towards better relations in the Kingdom. He hopes the change he has championed, such as cutting Parliament's travel budget to redirect funds to build Parliament's legislative writing team, is continued.

Independent MP Patrick Illidge said, "We have tested the bounds of Parliament and the Constitution." He was happy to see that one of the motions he championed with other MPs to bring relief from high electricity bills had become a reality for senior citizens. He reiterated his call for government to ensure more local people are seen in businesses, especially those on Front Street, and for effort to be made to realise the sewing centre, a project he had pushed for many years. Illidge did not contest the elections.

National Alliance (NA) fraction leader MP William Marlin said the new coalition will work to put St. Maarten and its people first by taking care of urgent needs such as passing the legislation to end the abuse for short-term labour contracts. Government will continue to be the one bringing legislation to Parliament, especially to support projects in the new governing programme, he said.

United People's (UP) party fraction leader MP Sylvia Meyers-Olivacce, who did not contest the election, said Parliament needed "a change of personalities" who will move from being "bittersweet" to dealing with the business of the people first. She hopes the new Parliament will "stand up and upgrade" the legislature and "take care of the people."

MP Johan Leonard (UP) said the goals of MPs are to work for the people and he intends to continue that in the coming parliamentary term.

Outgoing MP Louie Laveist said he was happy to have made a valuable contribution to the country, since the days of the Netherlands Antilles Parliament. He listed some of his achievement including the law to punish human smugglers and the amendments to increase the minimum wage. Laveist said after many years in active politics, he will take "a two-year sabbatical to take care of Louie's interests."

Outgoing MP Hyacinth Richardson said the new government has a lot of work to do, in particular, with tackling unemployment and boosting small businesses. He called on the UP, which is set to go into opposition with its seven seats in the new Parliament, not to make attempts to break the incoming NA/United St. Maarten Party/(DP) coalition, "because the country does not need instability."

MP George Pantophlet (NA) said the new government has to focus on giving assistance to the people in the community when they need it most and it must generate employment to put especially young people to work.

Outgoing MP and President of Parliament Arrindell outlined the work she did to build up the parliamentary apparatus during her three years in her post. She said she came into office with integrity and will be leaving with that intact. She presented MPs with copies of the Parliamentary Year Report and revised Rules of Order for Parliament after the meeting.

Frans Richardson mentioned 1 time
George Pantophlet mentioned 1 time
Hyacinth Richardson mentioned 1 time
Johan Leonard mentioned 1 time
Louie Laveist mentioned 1 time
Patrick Illidge mentioned 1 time
Romain Laville mentioned 1 time
Roy Marlin mentioned 1 time
William Marlin mentioned 1 time

Democratic Party [DP] mentioned 3 times
National Alliance [NA] mentioned 1 time
People's Progressive Alliance [PPA] mentioned 0 times
United St Maarten Party [USP] mentioned 1 time
Helping Our People Excel Association [HOPE] mentioned 0 times Corner Stone Solutions NV