PM Receives Courtesy Visit from Vice President of Kingdom Council of State Piet Hein Donner

Caption: The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams received a courtesy visit from Kingdom Council of State Vice President Pet Hein Donner and supporting members last week. Mr. Donner, who is no stranger to the Caribbean due to his former role as Minister of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations. The Prime Minister and Mr. Donner discussed various items as it relates to the Kingdom Council of State and its counterpart the St. Maarten Council of State. The Council of State is a constitutionally established advisory body to the government that consists of members of the royal family and Crown-appointed members generally having political, commercial, diplomatic, or military experience. The Council of State must be consulted by the cabinet on proposed legislation before a law is submitted to the parliament. The Council of State Administrative Law section also serves as a court of appeal for citizens against executive branch decisions. The King or Queen is President of the Council of State but she seldom chairs meetings. The Vice-President of the Council of State chairs meetings in their absence. Under Dutch Constitutional Law the Vice-President of the Council is acting Head of State when there is no Monarch; for example if the Royal Family were to become extinct. It was founded in 1531, making it one of the oldest, still active, governmental organizations in the world.