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Sarah: Dismissed ministers cannot turn around to dissolve Parliament

page3c116~ Ministers should resign ~

PHILIPSBURG--Democratic Party (DP) leader Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams says ministers who are dismissed cannot “turn around and dissolve Parliament.”

She was reacting to news that the Gumbs cabinet, against whom a motion of no confidence was passed on Wednesday, had submitted a National Decree to Governor Eugene Holiday on Thursday to dissolve Parliament and call new elections.

Wescot-Williams said the move by the Gumbs’ cabinet “could have been anticipated,” because Government had been “throwing this around for some time.”

“There is a constitutional history behind that legislation [to dissolve Parliament – Ed.] and it surely is not that ministers who are dismissed by means of a parliamentary motion can turn around and dissolve the Parliament,” she said. “Just imagine, if that was a legal recourse then any time a Parliament uses its democratic and constitutional mandate to dismiss one or more ministers, they could turn around and dissolve the same Parliament.

“Then there would be no use for the basic constitutional tenet of ministerial responsibility. The political world would be on its head. When there is no confidence, there is no confidence. The constitutional jurisprudence is clear.”

She said too that there was no impasse in Parliament or between Parliament and Government. “Had the Government received its marching orders and there was evidence of a stalemate in Parliament such as no fractions and/or persons willing to work together, that is something else. But right now, the dismissed ministers should have already done as the law prescribes and immediately made their positions available,” she said.

She stressed that St. Maarten had to pursue some electoral reforms as well as additional legislation for cases such as these. “The constitution also gives that possibility. At least you could legislate additional regulations in the case of motions of no confidence. In the meantime, once a motion of no confidence is given, the members of Government need to tender their resignations,” she said.

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