SINT MAARTEN/ARGENTINA - On April 7th and 8th, President of Parliament (PoP), the honourable Grisha Heyliger-Maarten, attended the “International Workshop of Scholars and Parliamentarians” in Argentina. This two-day workshop consisted of thirteen panel discussion sessions with topics including political and constitutional reform, good practices in parliamentary procedure, parliaments and education, parliaments’ defence of democracy and human rights, and parliaments, gender and women's empowerment.
Heyliger-Marten attended twelve of the thirteen panel discussion sessions, including the opening and closing sessions of the workshop, and made a presentation during the panel discussion entitled “Parliaments, Sovereignty and Peace”. The entire presentation can be found on Heyliger-Marten’s personal Facebook page.
In her presentation, Heyliger-Marten gave an overview of the constitutional history of Sint Maarten, the challenges currently faced related to achieving a full measure of self-government and finalizing the decolonization process.
In a press release issued Sunday, PoP Heyliger-Maarten said St. Maarten benefited significantly from the opportunity to give the presentation as it helps to forge international relationships with key strategic partners.
"In-person interaction has the advantage of having more in-depth and specific exchanges of information related to Sint Maarten’s plight.
While attending the workshop, Heyliger-Marten had constructive one-on-one discussion number of international scholars and Parliamentarians, who are well-versed in addressing the issues Sint Maarten is currently facing.
One of these scholars was a representative of Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA). PGA is the largest non-profit, non-partisan international network of legislators from elected parliaments worldwide. Its mission is to "Inform and mobilize parliamentarians in all regions of the world to advocate for human rights and the Rule of Law, democracy, human security, inclusion, and gender equality. During the workshop, Heyliger-Marten received an official invitation e-mail from PGA outlining how it can assist Sint Maarten with achieving its objectives as a developing democracy. She indicated that she looks forward to fellow Parliamentarians on Sint Maarten considering joining PGA.
During the workshop, PoP Heyliger-Marten also met with a number of Argentinian Governmental representatives, with whom she discussed a number of topics of mutual interest. One of those topics was the issue of the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands, which is a long-standing colonial dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom. During the most recent Parlatino meetings in Panama, Parliamentarians from Aruba and Sint Maarten expressed their support for Argentina on this matter.
According to Heyliger-Marten, both Argentina and the islands of the former Netherlands Antilles face issues with European colonial powers. “It is good to have these discussions and exchange ideas on how to address issues that we have in common. Having attended the Parlatino meetings and now this workshop, I am looking forward to continuing discussions with fellow Parliamentarians from Europe about Sint Maarten’s plight during the EUROLAT meetings the upcoming week.”
In closing, Heyliger-Marten stated that it is the sacred duty of the Parliament of Sint Maarten to advance and protect the sovereignty of Sint Maarten and, by extension, the other five Dutch Caribbean islands.
“As a legislative body, the Parliament of Sint Maarten is aware of its responsibility to ensure that all legislation governing the island complies with international law and benefits the people it represents”, Heyliger-Marten said.
“As such, and based on the motion of November 5th, 2020, I will continue to bring Sint Maarten’s case to the attention of third parties who can assist with achieving Sint Maarten’s objectives towards a full-measure of self-government and true democracy”, Heyliger-Marten concluded.