The Rules of Order of Parliament

The Rules of Order of Parliament details the functioning of Parliament.
The government/council of ministers determines government’s policy and is politically responsible to the representative of the people (Parliament) for its management.

Guaranteed is that the people’s representatives (Parliament) can control government and have the authority and instruments to do so.  

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  • The Right to ask questions
  • The Right of Interpellation
  • Budget Right
  • The Right to initiative
  • The Right of Inquiry
  • And other Investigative authorities

The other important and binding regulations can exclusively or only be established with cooperation of the representatives of the people.

The people’s representatives, Parliament, functions completely independent of government and it determines taking into consideration what is stated in the Constitution of St. Maarten how it functions. For that purpose Parliament established its own Rules of Order.

The Rules of Order regulates the functioning of the people’s representatives and her members, the meetings, the committees, the chairmanship, the application and making use of her future instruments and authorities.

In setting up this Rules of Order, account was taken of the Rules of Order of the Netherlands Antilles and the Parliament of Aruba. At the same time account has be taken with some elements from the renewed Rules of Order of the Second
Chamber of the States General.

In comparison with the Rules of Order of the Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles adjustments were not only made in style and language usage, but also a number of modern developments have been taken up in the functioning of the people’s representatives. Overall it can be said that the framework for the Rules of Order of the Parliament for the Netherlands Antilles in its entirety forms the core of the new Rules of Order for the Parliament of St. Maarten.

This way maybe prior to the results of the political discussions on the framework of the working together between the new countries, the regulations with regards to the manner of the handling and establishing of uniform federal ordinances as formulated in the Rules of Order of the Netherlands Antilles are taken up. We are striving to simplify the procedure of establishing uniform federal ordinances/laws. As soon as there is more clarity we have to see in how far the simplifying of the procedure influences the rules with regards to uniformity of the federal ordinances/laws in the underlying Rules of Order.

2. Specific Adjustments and Renewals

The Rules of Order opens the possibility next to the Chairman to appoint more or increase the amount of Vice Chair persons in sequence of the size of the factions, In other words starting with the biggest faction. Chairman and Vice chairman form the Presidium. The Presidium can simultaneously fulfill the role of the Agenda committee, the Domestic committee and the senior convent. In this manner it will prevent the chair from willingly or unwillingly having a position of absolute power. The presidium is supported by the Secretary General (Griffier).

In order to guarantee its independence from government Parliament establishes her own estimate/Budget on proposal of the Presidium and controls her own financial means. The Secretary General (Griffier) is responsible for the daily management. Parliament establishes her own rules for granting financial means to the factions.

In contrast to the old regulations in this Rules of Order rules regulating the formation, the existence and the functioning of the factions in Parliament are taken up.

To give support or basic civil rights of petition in the regulation a committee has been installed or established. This committee functions the same as other committees and has to present an annual report to Parliament on the manner on which petitions to Parliament have been handled.

In accordance with older regulations meetings of the committee in principal have been held behind closed doors. That principle seems to be conflicting with modern views on the functioning of the people’s representatives. This is why it is now regulated in principle that committee meetings be public unless Parliament decides that certain committee meetings should to be held behind closed doors. Committees are required to hold (closed) procedural meetings on their functioning, making of the agenda and programming.

In the chapter with regards to public meetings several adjustments and new methods of the functioning of meetings are taken up. It is made more plain now than before the manner in which public meetings are held and how these will function. There are also rules that make it possible to hold urgent debates with government. There will definitely be a need for this.

In contrast to the old regulations this Regulation (Rules of Order) makes it possible for the Chairman to allow interruptions, short and without introduction. The chairman shall pay extra or special attention as to how these interruptions take place.

The Right of amendment will be handled in a separate chapter in order to emphasize the authority of this for parliament.

In article 89 a provision is taken up which was not known in older regulations. The article states that if needed Parliament can determine her own working method. If none of the members of parliament object, Parliament can always decide to deviate from the Rules of Order as long as those deviations are not in conflict with the Charter, the Constitution, The Rules of cooperation of other legal provisions.