SHTA members meet with PM and president of parliament

POSTED: 02/19/13 12:19 PM

St. Maarten – Members of the SHTA were treated to a unique opportunity on Friday during the association’s monthly mixer with the attendance of Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams and the Chairman of Parliament Rodolphe. Samuel. They addressed the new government structure of Country St. Maarten.

Samuel explained the structure of Parliament, its committees, and the workings of this legislative body. He stressed that the fifteen-member chamber represents all people and therefore have an overarching responsibility to the constituents.

The prime minister expressed her delight at the opportunity afforded her due to the many misconceptions that still exist as it pertains to the structure of the Country’s government. In a very detailed presentation, the PM compared the current council of ministers with the former Executive Council, explained the relationship between government and parliament and outlined the differences between the former function of the Lt. Governor and that of the current Governor.

“It comes as a surprise to many that in our dualistic system, the government appoints the ministers and the government can dissolve parliament,” she said. “In addition, the governor and the ministers make up the government, but the governor has no executive powers.” Furthermore, the legislative process is not complete without acts of both parliament and government.

The SHTA-members also received a brief overview of the accountability and liability of ministers. The PM said that electoral reform is a permanent feature of any healthy democracy.

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