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St. Maarten coalition partner sends dissolution decree to Governor for signature

WEDNESDAY, 15 MAY 2013

PHILIPSBURG–A draft national decree aimed at dissolving Parliament was submitted to Governor Eugene Holiday for signature on Tuesday by National Alliance (NA) leader/Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin. The draft decree is based on the position of Ministers Marlin, Silveria Jacobs, Roland Tuitt and Romeo Pantophlet.

The draft decree calls for early general elections to be held on July 26. Nomination Day would be June 14 and the new Parliament should take office on August 14.

Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams reportedly has written to the Governor strongly condemning Marlin’s action of sending the draft decree. She also is said to be questioning the legality of his move made under the guise of deputising for her. She is expected to expound on the matter further in today’s Council of Ministers press conference.

The letter to the governor from Marlin states that the majority of the Council of Ministers was applying Article 59, sub 1, in the call to dissolve Parliament. That article states that Parliament can be dissolved by a national decree.

The article further starts the resolution for dissolution also shall include an order for new elections for the dissolved Parliament and for the re-convention of the newly-elected Parliament within three months. The dissolution shall take effect on the day on which the newly elected Parliament convenes.

This decree comes as a result of the NA-led coalition losing its majority in Parliament more than a week ago. That political shakeup led to a meeting of Parliament on Monday held by the new coalition of United People’s (UP) party, Democratic Party (DP) and independent Member of Parliament Romain Laville during which a motion of no confidence was passed against the four ministers who are now attempting to dissolve Parliament. The legality of that meeting is being questioned.

The governor has been informed of that motion by the new coalition with the caveat that he should not entertain any request from the four ministers to dissolve Parliament.

That meeting is being contested by President of Parliament Rodolphe Samuel, who considers the meeting “invalid.” He is meeting with the governor on this matter.

Commenting Monday’s meeting on PJD2 radio programme “People’s Voice” on Tuesday, Marlin said the new coalition had “hijacked the equipment” of Parliament and “took someone off the street” to record the meeting.

Marlin stated in his cover letter to the governor that the draft decree was based on a decision of the majority of the Council of Ministers. He also outlined that Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams had refused to note the presentation of the draft decree in the Council of Ministers meeting of May 6 and to have same reflected in the minutes of that meeting.

He further stated in the cover letter that the Prime Minister must execute this decision of the majority of ministers and prepare for elections according to all relevant laws and regulations. The Prime Minister, he added, has refused so far to accept the majority decision of the Council of Ministers.

Marlin explained that the decree was a reaction to the Prime Minister’s call for the cabinet to resign due to the loss of parliamentary majority.

Source: The Daily Herald

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