St. Maarten Ombudsman puts focus on procedures for laws


PHILIPSBURG--A lot still has to be fine-tuned when it come to the process of approving laws and ministerial decrees, despite the Council of Ministers' developing and recently approving a standardised procedure for ratification.
Ombudsman Nilda Arduin-Lynch told The Daily Herald that after looking at the system, she has "concluded that government will have to review the procedure of ratification again ... I have discovered some gaps in the procedures." The Council of Ministers approved the system in May.

The Ombudsman did not disclose the exact nature of those gaps, preferring instead to discuss these with Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams first. The findings on the law ratification procedure will be presented to the Prime Minister this week.

Arduin-Lynch explained that a matter to be looked into is exactly when a law should be published; whether this should take place before the six-week period of review by the Ombudsman or after it, when it is clear that there are no constitutional conflicts.

"What if the law is published, but can't go into effect because the Ombudsman took it to the Constitutional Court?" she said, pointing out that some laws are published before they are submitted to the Ombudsman, with a clause stating that they will come into effect on a future date.

"Together with Government and Parliament, we will come to a proper system, so I can do the checks and balances," she said.

The Ombudsman has received the publication sheets of some 30 laws and ministerial decrees for review to date.