The two main tasks of Parliament are:

  • to act as co-legislator (article 82 of the Constitution);
  • to exercise control over government's policies.

In order to fulfil these tasks, (Members of) Parliament has the following powers at its disposal:

  • the right to ask questions (article 62 of the Constitution);
  • the right of interpellation (article 63 of the Constitution);
  • the right of inquiry (article 64 of the Constitution);
  • the right of initiative (article 85 of the Constitution);
  • the right of amendment (article 86 of the Constitution);
  • the right to approve and amend the budget (article 100 of the Constitution).

In order to fulfill the tasks as aforementioned, the work of Members of Parliament consists predominantly of attending Parliament meetings and voting on legislation, amendments, motions and other important matters. Making such important decisions requires preparation such as reading the entire dossier, work visits and speaking with the public. If Parliament deems it necessary it can hold hearings with third parties to receive the information it needs.

Where legislation is concerned the Parliament plays a crucial role as co-legislator. According to article 82 of the Constitution, national ordinances shall be enacted jointly by the government and Parliament. National ordinances contain general binding regulations which in certain cases have far reaching consequences for the citizens of the country like for example the raising of taxes and criminalizing certain behavior. These type of decisions cannot be taken lightly and require a lot of preparation before these decisions are laid down in a national ordinance.

The procedure to establish a national ordinance can be found in Chapter 6 of the Constitution and is briefly described below:

National ordinances initiated by government:

  • a national ordinance is drafted upon the request of a minister;
  • the minister submits the draft national ordinance to the Council of Ministers for approval to subsequently be sent to the Council of Advice;
  • if the Council of Ministers agrees the draft national ordinance will be sent to the Council of Advice through the Governor;
  • the Council of Advice renders an advice on the draft national ordinance;
  • the minister reacts on the advice in a so called “nader rapport” and makes changes to the draft national ordinance if necessary;
  • the minister submits the draft national ordinance once more to the Council of Ministers for approval to be sent to Parliament;
  • If the Council of Ministers agrees the draft national ordinance will be sent to Parliament through the Governor;
  • the draft national ordinance is discussed in a Central Committee meeting in which the minister may or may not be invited;
  • a report (“verslag”) will be made and sent to government with questions and reactions on the draft;
  • government will react in a “nota naar aanleiding van het verslag” and if necessary one or more memorandums of modification (“nota’s van wijziging”) can be submitted;
  • the draft national ordinance is then discussed in a Public meeting of Parliament in which the minister is present;
  • Members of Parliament can submit amendments and/or motions;
  • after the deliberations on the draft national ordinance come to an end, the voting takes place;
  • if the draft national ordinance is approved, Parliament sends a notification to the Governor that it has approved the draft and it is signed by the Governor and cosigned by the minister responsible for its execution;
  • the minister of General Affairs is responsible for the publication of the national ordinances in the Official Publication in order for the public to take note of it;
  • the date of entering into force is regulated most of the time in the national ordinance itself.

National ordinances initiated by Member(s) of Parliament:

  • a national ordinance is drafted by a Member(s) of Parliament;
  • the Member(s) of Parliament submits the draft national ordinance to Parliament to be sent directly to the Council of Advice;
  • Copies are also sent to the other Members of Parliament and the government;
  • the Council of Advice renders an advice on the draft national ordinance;
  • the Member(s) of Parliament reacts on the advice in a so called “nader rapport” and makes changes to the draft national ordinance if necessary;
  • the “nader rapport” is submitted to Parliament;
  • the draft national ordinance is discussed in a Central Committee meeting in which the Member(s) of Parliament may or may not be invited to answer the questions of other Members of Parliament;
  • a report (“verslag) will be made;
  • the Member(s) of Parliament will react in a “nota naar aanleiding van het verslag” and if necessary one or more memorandums of modification can be submitted;
  • the draft national ordinance is then discussed in a Public meeting of Parliament in which the Members of Parliament will answer questions;
  • (during the whole process it is advisable for the Member(s) of Parliament to have the minister who is ultimately responsible for the execution of the law involved in order to prevent a draft national ordinance is created that contradict the policies of said minister;)
  • Members of Parliament can submitted amendments and/or motions;
  • after the deliberations on the draft national ordinance come to an end, the voting takes place;
  • if the draft national ordinance is accepted, it is signed by the Governor and cosigned by the minister responsible;
  • the minister of General Affairs is responsible for the publication of the national ordinance in the Official Publication in order for the public to take note of it;
  • the date of entering into force is regulated most of the time in the national ordinance itself.

Get in contact

Wilhelminastraat #1
Philipsburg, Sint Maarten

Tel:


Fax:
+(721) 542-0812
+(721) 542-2929

+(721) 542-0306

E-mail: info@sxmparliament.org