Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Great Bay St. Maarten, August 7, 2020 – “ Last Tuesday afternoon was another closed door virtual meeting of Parliament with the Prime Minister in attendance to apprise Parliament of the “negotiations” with the Dutch Government regarding liquidity assistance and specifically the proposal by the Dutch Government to legislate a Caribbean Reform Entity (CRE). In the meeting, the Members of Parliament were informed of Government’s first official response to the proposal put on the table by State Secretary R. Knops regarding this CRE.

As with most of these closed-door meetings with the Government, one is left wondering, what the secrecy is all about” stated United Democrats Member of Parliament, Wescot-Williams in a recent statement.

The MP believes that the population is entitled to hear their Government defend its position on any topic in  Parliament, and are equally entitled to hear the reactions of their representatives in Parliament. “While I support, especially during these times, finding ways to more efficiently use the time of Ministers and Members of Parliament and that informal communication between the Parliament and Government also can be constructive, the premise of formal political dialogue via the highest body in the land, should never be relegated to a sort of secret society”, she stated.

 “This, regardless of how strong or large any  Government coalition is. In fact, the broader the coalition, the more need for that openness and accountability by the Ministers, and always with respect for the separation of powers”. Case in point: the same proposal for a CRE by R. Knops was, as is required for Kingdom Council of Ministers’ deliberations, confidential and could not be shared with the Parliament of St. Maarten by our Government, the same Government that was expected to agree with this proposal and ensure its Parliament supported the proposal. State Secretary Knops decided the same day however to provide HIS Parliament with the information, in so doing making the whole package public”, Wescot-Williams further elaborated.

 “So while I am all for more efficiency by means of e.g. a) structuring the question hour of Parliament and making this a standard part of open communication between the two layers of Government; b) sending questions for meetings ahead of time and eliminating the long adjournments or the rushing off of answers; c) not obliging Ministers to read hours and hours of answers, which are provided in writing anyhow, Government should respond timely to questions by MPs, and this should go hand in hand with Government’s respect for the role of Parliament and for the duties of every individual Member of Parliament”, MP Wescot-Williams concluded.

PARIS (AP) — A Congolese activist was fined 2,000 euros ($2,320) on Wednesday for trying to take a 19th-century African funeral pole from a Paris museum in a protest against colonial-era injustice that he streamed online. A Paris court convicted Emery Mwazulu Diyabanza and two other activists of attempted theft, but the sentence stopped far short of what they potentially faced for their actions at the Quai Branly Museum: 10 years in prison and 150,000 euros in fines. Activists and defense lawyers viewed the case as a trial about how former empires should atone for past crimes. Diyabanza’s museum action took place in June, amid global protests against racial injustice and colonial-era wrongs unleashed by George Floyd’s death in the U.S. Floyd, a Black man in handcuffs, died May 25 after a white police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for several minutes while Floyd said he couldn’t breathe.

LONDON (AP) — Herbert Kretzmer, the journalist and lyricist best known for his English-language adaptation of the musical Les Miserables, has died. He was 95. His family confirmed Wednesday that Kretzmer died after a long illness with Parkinson’s disease at the London home he shared with his second wife, Sybil Sever. Tributes poured in from giants of the London stage, including theatrical producer Cameron Mackintosh, singer Elaine Paige and lyricist Tim Rice. Les Miserables producer Mackintosh said Kretzmer was instrumental in bringing Victor Hugo’s classic tale of defiance and redemption in early 19th century France to the stage in English in October 1985, five years after it had opened in Paris.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stevie Wonder released two new songs Tuesday reflecting the current times that he hopes inspires change. The piano-playing icon dropped the tracks “Where Is Our Love Song” and “Can’t Put It In the Hands of Fate,” which he also announced would be released through his new label So What the Fuss Music, distributed through Universal Music Group’s Republic Records (Wonder was signed to Motown Records for the majority of his career).

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Conchata Ferrell, who became known for her role as Berta the housekeeper on TV’s “Two and a Half Men” after a long career as a character actor on stage and in movies, including “Mystic Pizza” and ”Network,” has died. She was 77. Ferrell died Monday at Sherman Oaks Hospital in Los Angeles following cardiac arrest, according to publicist Cynthia Snyder. Ferrell soldiered through more than a decade on “Two and a Half Men,” playing opposite Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer until Sheen was fired from the sitcom for erratic behavior that included publicly insulting producer Chuck Lorre.