PHILIPSBURG--From its objective position, the Council of Advice does not enter into political discussions by formulating legal opinions. This is stated by the Council in response to Parliament's request to advise on the legality of Claudius Buncamper's suspension as a Member of Parliament, which is disputed by him.
In a letter dated June 3, 2022, Buncamper writes to the Chairlady of Parliament that it is his firm belief that, by having suspended him as Member of Parliament, international treaties regulating the rights of senators to represent the people who duly elected them are being infringed on.
Above all, he complains that St. Maarten is the only country in the Kingdom that applies article 50 sub 1b of the Constitution of St. Maarten to suspend a Member of Parliament who is charged with a crime.
The Council of Advice refrains from giving its opinion. The Council makes use of its discretionary power, as laid down in Article 14 of the National Ordinance of the Advisory Council, by refraining from further substantive treatment of the matter.
"Although the Council understands the collective desire of Parliament to be further informed about the questions presented, it unfortunately has to conclude that in this case the Council is not the appropriate body to deal with the substance of the questions asked," the Council stated in a letter to Parliament, received on October 6.
The Council of Advice does not advise on individual cases. 'When Parliament submits a request for an opinion to the Council, other than an own-initiative law, it must be sufficiently clear which concrete interest of the Country or Kingdom is at stake and why. In the opinion of the Council, this has not been done sufficiently in this case," the Council explained.
The Council reiterated that the original reason for asking the questions asked by Parliament are based on an incoming letter dated June 3, 2022, from Buncamper addressed to Parliament in which he raises the issue of the suspension of his membership of Parliament and invokes international treaty law.
"This means that the context in which Parliament submitted the request does not relate to an issue that arises in a broader social context with a potentially far-reaching impact, but specifically relates to an individual case," the Council concluded. "In the opinion of the Council, the 'interest of the Country or the Kingdom' has not been made sufficiently clear."