Parliament commence procedure to comply with provisions to appoint a substitute Member

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Claudius A. Buncamper BSc
Member of Parliament of Sint Maarten

Philipsburg – On Thursday, January 6, 2022 the Parliament of Sint Maarten in its public meeting no. 5, handled a letter from the Attorney General Mr. A.C. Maan regarding the conviction of Mr. C.A. Buncamper (IS/403/2021-2022 dated January 3, 2022).

The letter from the Attorney General informed Parliament of the judgement rendered by the Court of First Instance against the Member of Parliament on December 23, 2021.

With this decision of the Court of First Instance, Member of Parliament, Mr. C.A. Buncamper was sentenced by court order to a custodial sentence for committing a crime as referred to in article 50, first paragraph of the Constitution of Sint Maarten.

Pursuant to Article 50, second paragraph of the Constitution of Sint Maarten, a legal consequence of this is that Mr. C.A. Buncamper has been suspended as a Member of Parliament with immediate effect. This means that as of December 24, 2021 the Parliament of Sint Maarten no longer complies with Article 45, first paragraph, of the Constitution, which states that the Parliament consists of fifteen members.

Upon receiving this notice from the office of the Public Prosecutor, the role of Parliament is to then initiate and comply with the provisions of article 50, third paragraph of the Constitution, namely the appointment of a substitute Member of Parliament.

Therefore, in its Public Meeting of January 6, 2022, Parliament acknowledged having received the notice from the Attorney General and indicated that the Member of Parliament C.A. Buncamper and the Central Voting Bureau will be informed.

The suspension of a Member of Parliament means that while the Member of Parliament retains his/her salary and benefits (remuneration) during his/her suspension; he/she will have no representative, supervisory or legislative powers.

Immediately after the meeting, a letter was sent to the Member and the Central Voting Bureau. The Central Voting Bureau will now have to act in accordance with article 115 of the Electoral ordinance to appoint a substitute Member of Parliament. After that is done Parliament will have to verify the credentials of the substitute Member to be admitted to Parliament. He or she can then function as a full Member of Parliament.