SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Grisha Heyliger-Marten, the President of Parliament, provided a summary of her activities for the legislative year 2021–2022 in a press release issued on Sunday.
Heyliger-Marten said that the St. Maarten populace deserves accountability from Parliament regarding how it spends taxpayer dollars. "As the Parliament, we give a summary of attendance statistics, the number of meetings, and other events. However, as individual MPs, we must also account for the job we have been doing on behalf of the people,” Heyliger-Marten stated.
She stated that during the previous legislative year, over 44% of her work involved issues pertaining to Parliament in general, such as the work directly related to the position of President.
This included handling and passing the budget for 2022 (February), holding introductory meetings with the high Councils of State, attending the EUROLAT meeting and the International Workshop of Scholars and Parliamentarians in Argentina (April), hosting the IPKO (May), holding introductory meetings with the President of Parliament and Prime Minister of Curaçao, and the US consul (June), and finishing the backlog of more than 60 unfinished Parliamentary meetings.
Heyliger-Marten spent over 28% of her time on the Ministry of General Affairs, which was the second-largest category she focused on. This includes letters to the Prime Minister asking questions and offering advice about the COHO, capacity building, and decolonization (May and August).
Additionally, three letters to the Prime Minister were sent asking for the SOAB report on TELEM to be sent to Parliament and for an open discussion on its conclusions (September 29th, 2021, March 22nd, June 27th, and August 17th, 2022).
During the most recent legislative year, the Ministry of Justice made up around 16% of HeyligerMarten’s total workload. As Chairlady of the Justice Committee in Parliament, she asked the Minister of Justice to arrange a quick visit to the Point Blanche prison in September 2021; the visit took place on November 2, 2021.
She also wrote to the Minister of Justice in October 2021 to inquire about the latest information regarding inmate protests at Point Blanche Prison. Heyliger-Marten also requested that the Minister of Justice notify Parliament on the status of the execution of Motion No. 2 from June 30, 2021.
Concerns about the way the immigration controls were being executed were expressed in a letter that was sent to the Minister of Justice in February 2021. About 4% of Heyliger-Marten's workload was dedicated to the Ministries of Finance, TEATT, and ECYS.
This included (follow-up) letters to the Minister of TEATT regarding the implementation of the GEBE "Tariff-60" for seniors. It also included a joint follow-up letter to the Ministers of TEATT and Finance with suggestions to increase local revenues and a letter to the Minister of Finance dated August 17th, 2022, with questions and suggestions regarding securing Sint Maarten's financial-economic viability, stability, and sustainable development.
Heyliger-Marten convened a conference with the Ministry of ECYS to discuss finalizing a national anthem for St. Maarten in November 2021. The Minister of ECYS received the meeting report and will be addressing it going forward. Additionally, she reminded the Minister of ECYS in a letter of her concerns regarding alleged anomalies in the Philipsburg Jubilee Library.
In October of 2020, the original letter was delivered to the Minister. Numerous meetings were called throughout the period in her role as the Chairwoman of the Committee of Justice and the Ad Hoc Electoral Reform Committee (AHCR).
In the Justice Committee, roughly six sessions were scheduled between October 2021 and June 2022, and they culminated in a project centered on the revision of the criminal code. Approximately four meetings regarding the AHCR were called between March and September 2022, one of which resulted in the committee choosing to put out a TOR for the amendment of certain laws; ship jumping, and dismantling of Parliament, to name a few.
Heyliger-Marten stated that her schedule has changed dramatically toward general parliamentary concerns after taking office as President in November 2021. “As President, you must adopt a more impartial stance and concentrate more on overseeing the central committee and public meetings of Parliament.
Nevertheless, with the assistance of my colleague MPs and the staff of Parliament, I was able to combine the duties of being an MP and the President of Parliament,” she said.