President Samuel prepares for the visit of Members of the First Chamber of the Dutch Parliament.

PHOTO CUTLINE: President of Parliament Hon. Rodolphe Samuel.

Public invited to exchange of ideas session with Dutch MPs

Members of the Dutch First Chamber of Parliament, also known as the Senate, will be visiting the country on January 10 and 11.

Preparations are well underway by President of Parliament Hon. Drs. Rodolphe Samuel to welcome the Dutch parliamentary delegation. President Samuel has also taken the initiative to organize a meeting between Dutch Members of Parliament (MPs) and the people of Sint Maarten.

Members of the public are invited to the exchange of ideas session to be held on Thursday, January 10 at the Cultural Centre on Backstreet from 7.00pm to 8.30pm.

President Samuel pointed out that this is an opportunity for a personal meeting with the members of the First Chamber, where MPs hear about the new political structure introduced on October 10, 2010; about the experience with respect to the relationship between Sint Maarten and the Netherlands, and also in particularly with Sint Eustatius and Saba.

The Dutch MPs look forward to an open and constructive exchange of views with the Sint Maarten community.

The First Chamber (Eerste Kamer) of the Dutch Parliament has 75 members. They are elected by the members of the 12 Provincial Councils. These elections are indirect where voters elect the members of the Provincial Councils, who in turn elect the members of the Senate.

The Senate’s main duties are in the legislative field, but it also plays a role in scrutinizing the actions of the Government. Formally the Senate can only reject or accept legislation. Debates of legislation take place in the Senate with respect to the interpretation of a law.

The difference between the Dutch Second Chamber of Parliament (House of Representatives) and the First Chamber, MPs in the Second Chamber are paid to be full-time legislators while members of the Senate work part-time and receive an allowance. They also hold other positions.

The Dutch Senate has been in existence since 1815 when it was instituted by King William I.