Monday, May 20th

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Editorial - Time running out

It appears a General Measure of Kingdom Governance to impose an Integrity Chamber on St. Maarten may have become unavoidable (see related story). The Dutch Government earlier had actually withdrawn this option and the related request for advice from the Council of State.

The latter was done based on a protocol signed between Ministers Ronald Plasterk of the Netherlands and Dennis Richardson of St. Maarten for the passing of a national ordinance to establish such a chamber by the end of June. However, that did not happen, as the Parliament in Philipsburg asked many questions and suggested several changes.

The matter is now again on the agenda for the next Kingdom Council of Ministers meeting on July 10. This gives the Gumbs cabinet exactly one week to find a way out or await what the body consisting of all Dutch ministers and just one plenipotentiary minister each for St. Maarten, Curaçao and Aruba will decide.

Parliament also needs to keep in mind that it shares responsibility for the final outcome by delaying the process, despite the willingness shown by Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs to act quickly. Local elected representatives had argued that the set deadline was to start debating the proposed legislation rather than its approval, but it seems the political establishment in The Hague is not interested in semantics or word games.

There was hope that the summer recess in the Netherlands would prevent the issue from escalating again, but next Friday could prove a crucial date after all. It is possible that the UP-led coalition might agree to still handle an adjusted draft ordinance in an emergency session during the next few days, but even then the Dutch would have to agree to the revised version.

Time clearly is running out.