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Committee for Constitutional Affairs and Decolonization holds inaugural meeting

MP Grisha Heyliger Marten MP Grisha Heyliger Marten

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - During a closed-door meeting in Parliament today, the newly established Permanent “Committee for Constitutional Affairs and Decolonization” (CCAD) elected its Chair and Vice-Chair. The two initiators of the Committee, MP’s Solange Ludmila Duncan (NA) and Grisha Heyliger-Marten (UP) were elected as Chair and Vice-Chair of the CCAD respectively.

After the election, NA faction leader William Marlin congratulated MP’s Duncan and Heyliger on their new roles.

The CCAD was established based on a motion of November 5th, 2020. Included in the motion was the declaration by the Parliament that any actions, including proposals and legislative action(s) and/or initiatives by the Government of the Netherlands which do not treat the interests of the people of St. Maarten as paramount and violate the Netherlands’ continued obligations under article 73 of the UN Charter law, and Sint Maarten’s UN-mandated right to a full measure of self-government under the Kingdom Charter as null and void, and therefore inoperative with immediate effect. (This sentence is long and should be simplified a bit for public consumption)

The main responsibilities of the CCAD are parliamentary oversight, coordination of, and reporting on all trajectories taken in regards to the Constitution and the decolonization process. The committee will inform Parliament and the general public of developments related to activities undertaken in the committee, and coordinate as necessary with international bodies, other Parliaments within the Kingdom of the Netherlands and make recommendations to all parties accordingly.

The inaugural meeting of the CCAD comes just a month after the IPKO meeting of January 6th and 7th. During the IPKO, the majority of questions directed to the delegation of the Parliament of Sint Maarten by members of the Dutch Senate and Parliament were related to the CCAD and decolonization. At the time, the delegation of Sint Maarten indicated that the CCAD did not start its deliberations as yet, and that any questions would be answered as the processes starts and progresses.

The CCAD understands the importance of informing and educating the public on the history of St. Maarten and the need for discussions on the current constitutional status within the Kingdom. A brochure will be available in March via Parliament’s website detailing the committee’s work and other pertinent information regarding decolonization and nation building. The first working meeting of the CCAD is expected to take place in March 2021.

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