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MP Heyliger: Laws should be in English for people to know rights

10 FEBRUARY 2017

PHILIPSBURG–The laws and amendments, in particular the ones with immediate and direct impact on the lives of the people of St. Maarten, must be presented to Parliament by Government in English, the language of the people of St. Maarten, says United People’s (UP) party leader Member of Parliament Theo Heyliger.

“Laws of far reaching impact tabled in Parliament that are not in English will not have my vote,” Heyliger said on Thursday.

“To continue to pass laws which the majority of the population cannot read or get the essence of how they impact their life is not serving the people fairly. Laws, but especially those related to justice and finance must be in English as soon as possible,” Heyliger said.

His decision not to support laws that are not written in English stems from the unanimous motion passed by Parliament last year about having English take its prominent place in the country.

“In addition, 90 per cent of our population cannot understand the high level Dutch that is used in these laws. Our people have a right to know what Parliament is voting on. Passing laws that people do not understand is like committing genocide,” Heyliger said.

Dutch continues to dominate the workings of St. Maarten due to the constitutional status. However, Heyliger said it is time for the rights of the people to knowledge about what impacts them at the core of their lives to take the front seat.

Government as a co-legislator with Parliament to date is the one that tables the majority of the laws for approval. “If this is really a government of the people, they will put attention on informing the people properly. After all, one of their own, who is now a minister, has made a vehement call for law to be presented to Parliament in English,” Heyliger said.

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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