Published On: Tue, May 29th, 2018

Curaçao and Aruba could join Constitutional Court

judge-hammer1-courtTHE HAGUE - St. Maarten supports a scenario whereby Aruba and Curaçao would join the St. Maarten Constitutional Court.

Aruba and Curaçao are interested in having a Constitutional Court. The countries haven’t decided whether to set up their own Constitutional Court or whether to join St. Maarten’s existing Court and to pool resources. Right now, St. Maarten is the only country in the Kingdom that has a Constitutional Court, an initiative for which the country has received praise since its introduction in 2010.

The possibility of the expansion of St. Maarten’s Constitutional Court with Aruba and Curaçao was discussed during the tripartite meeting of the three countries at the Mercure Hotel in The Hague on Monday in preparation for the Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultations IPKO which starts today, Tuesday.

“St. Maarten has absolutely no problem with the pooling of resources. You need expertise for a Constitutional Court and considering the small scale of the islands it makes sense to pool the resources. Besides, working together only makes us stronger as Dutch Caribbean countries,” said St. Maarten delegation leader Sarah Wescot-Williams, who noted that sharing a Constitutional Court with Aruba and Curaçao would also promote the independent position of the institute.

Wescot-Williams also provided some information on her initiative law proposal to expand the scope of the Constitutional Court. Currently only the Ombudsman can present a case to the Constitutional Court when it regards a law that has been adopted by the St. Maarten Parliament.
Under the law proposal of Wescot-Williams, the Court could also handle disputes or issues of a political-administrative nature between St. Maarten’s different government bodies, for example, between the Parliament and the governor, or between the Parliament and the government before the passing of a law.

The Court, for example, would be able to render a ruling on an impasse situation regarding the holding of elections or when a government should resign. This could prevent or at least shorten situations with the dissolving of Parliament as occurred in 2015 and 2017.

Wescot-Williams’ initiative law proposal has not been sent to the St. Maarten Parliament as yet. First, she wanted to get the input of President of the Constitutional Court Judge Bob Wit. She said that she discussed the matter with Wit when he was in St. Maarten a week and a half ago, and that he is in support.

Curaçao and Aruba might also want to have a broader scope of the Constitutional Court if they decide to join. “I can imagine that the other countries would want to incorporate this as well,” said Wescot-Williams. She mentioned that Curaçao has also had its share of political-administrative disputes within the government.

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