The President presides over the meetings of Parliament and maintains order during the deliberations and suspension thereof. The Rules of Order are an important tool to fulfill this task. The President ensures compliance with the Rules of Order by making sure for example that Members do not deviate from the topic at hand when they are speaking.
The President also presides over and directs the meetings of the Presidium. The Presidium supervises the work of the Secretary General and the secretariat.
The President represents Parliament locally and abroad. The President is the so called “face of Parliament”.
Furthermore, the President keeps an eye on the execution of the decisions of Parliament.
Based on article 57, paragraph 1 of the Constitution, Parliament appoints a President and Vice Presidents amongst its Members.
Article 6 of the Rules of Order prescribe that in the first public meeting to be held after a periodic resignation or dissolution, Parliament
appoints the President and the Vice Presidents. As long as such an appointment has not taken place yet, the President or the Vice President as appointed for the preceding period acts as President, if he forms part of the new Parliament.
In the absence of such a person, the member of the new Parliament who, amongst the members has had the longest membership in the body, the member who is the oldest in age acts as President, if there is no such person, the member who is the oldest in age acts as President.
Parliament can relieve a sitting President or Vice President prematurely of his duties and appoint another member as President or Vice President.
Voting for the position of President is done in accordance with articles 70 and further of the Rules of Order. Every Member of Parliament receives a blank piece of paper on which he or she writes down the name of the person he or she would like to become President. The Committee of tellers counts the votes cast and determines which Member has received the most amount of votes. This Member will then become the President. Who will become President of Parliament is most of the time agreed upon in the Governing Accord.
The Presidency exists since the inception of the Parliament of Sint Maarten on October 10, 2010. In accordance with the transitional provisions of the Constitution that went into effect the same day, the members of the Island Council for which elections were held on September 17, 2010, became Members of Parliament on the same date. However, the Parliament still needed to elect its President. Mr. Lloyd J. Richardson, MD as the oldest Member at the time presided over the proceedings. Below is an overview of the persons that have held the position of President since 2010:
- MP drs. Gracita A. Arrindell: October 10, 2010 – July 14, 2012 and June 24, 2013 – October 10, 2014
- MP drs. Rodolphe E. Samuel: July 15, 2012 – May 24, 2013
- MP Lloyd J. Richardson: December 1, 2014 – October 13, 2015
- MP Claret M.M. Connor: October 31, 2016 – November 24, 2016
- MP Sarah A. Wescot-Williams: October 10, 2014 – November 13, 2014, October 13, 2015 – October 31, 2016, November 24, 2016 –
April 2, 2018 and May 7, 2018 – September 22, 2019
- MP William V. Marlin: September 25, 2019 - February 10, 2020
- MP Rolando Brison: February 10, 2020 - Thursday, November 4, 2021