Pursuant to article 93 of the Rules of Order of Parliament, the President may set rules for the admission of visitors to the building of Parliament and to the public tribune. The following contains the house rules of the Parliament of Sint Maarten as established by the President of Parliament in accordance with aforementioned article:
Access Parliament building
Visitors for Members of Parliament
Visitors who have an appointment with a Member of Parliament must present themselves at the front desk in the Parliament building at the Wilhelminastraat # 1 in Philipsburg. Upon arrival they are requested to identify themselves by means of a valid ID (ID card, passport or driver’s license). The first and last name, time of arrival and time of departure of visitors are recorded by the desk attendant in a logbook. This is to ensure that at all times it is known who is in the Parliament building. The ID is handed over by the visitor and in return the visitor will receive a visitor pass. After completion of the visit, the visitor returns the pass and gets back his ID.
Visitors without an appointment must also present themselves at the front desk and identify themselves. The faction staff is notified and an appointment is made with the Member through the faction staff. The visitor is not allowed to remain in the lobby area after the appointment has been made.
Visitors for public tribune
Visitors can also attend meetings of Parliament in the public tribune. These visitors must present themselves at the front desk in the Parliament building at the Wilhelminastraat # 1 in Philipsburg. After having indicated that they wish to take a seat in the public tribune, they are issued a visitor pass after having handed over their ID. After completion of the visit, the visitor returns the pass and gets back his ID.
Group of visitors for tour of Parliament building
It is possible for institutions, associations, foundations or schools to request to be allowed to be given a tour of the Parliament building. The secretariat usually cooperates to comply with such requests. It is advisable to submit the request thereto well in advance. After the request has been honored but before the visit takes place, the organization is requested to submit a full list of all the persons that will be present during the visit with a copy of their ID. Children are exempted of having to present their ID.
Invited guests can also attend the meetings of Parliament. The same procedure as the visitors for the public tribune applies.
Members of the press can also attend the meetings of Parliament and take a seat in the press room. The same procedure as the visitors for the public tribune applies with the exception that a press pass is issued instead of a visitors pass.
All visitors, invited guests and members of the press are screened with a scanning device by the police officer present at the Parliament building. The screening takes place upon arrival in designated areas. Fire arms, other weapons and drugs are strictly prohibited in the Parliament building.
Children are exempted from this screening.
Behavior in public tribune
Visitors in the public tribune are prohibited from giving any sign of approval or disapproval during meetings in session. The President ensures that this prohibition is enforced and for maintaining adequate silence. In case of violation, the President may issue a warning. The President can order that the person who refuses to adhere to the rules after the warning is given needs to leave the Legislative Hall immediately.
Visitors in the public tribune must remain behind the railings at all times.
Food and drinks are not allowed in the public tribune.
It is in principle prohibited to anyone who is in the public tribune to use mobile phones, video cameras and laptops during the meeting. However, permission can be granted by the President of Parliament for taking pictures, making video recordings and using a laptop in the Legislative Hall of Parliament. The request must be submitted before the start of the meeting.
Dress code meetings of Parliament
Persons who attend meetings of Parliament need to wear “proper attire”. Taking into account the fact that nowadays not only “jacket and tie” gets the qualification of proper attire and the fact that we operate in the Caribbean region, the dress code is stipulated as follows:
Dress code visitors for public tribune
Visitors for the public tribune should wear proper attire. This is defined as neat, clean clothing and appropriate footwear; no shorts and no slippers are allowed. No hats and sunglasses are allowed in the Legislative Hall either.
Dress code for the press
The dress code for the visitors for the public tribune is applicable to the members of the press.
Finally, it should be noted that for formal meetings and other special occasions, the President may stipulate special dress code, such as dark suit (for example Opening of new Parliamentary Year).