PHILIPSBURG:--- The Parliament of St. Maarten in a public meeting on Thursday said that the Voting Bureau will decide who will be replacing suspended MP Claudius Buncamper. Buncamper was suspended since he was convicted on December 23rd, 2021.
Members of Parliament in their debate said that the letter sent by the Prosecutor General recommended that the convicted member of parliament be suspended based on Article 50-2-b.
MP Sarah Wescot Williams called on the chairlady of parliament to pick up the legislative amendments that have been pending. Wescot Williams asked the chair of parliament to work on the electoral reform.
Member of Parliament and faction leader William Marlin said there are not many amendments that have to be made because the law is clear. Marlin said that if MP Buncamper did not appeal he would have lost his seat, but since he appealed his case, he is suspended. Buncamper will be receiving his full salaries and benefits even though suspended.
Marlin said the seat will go back to the United St. Maarten Peoples Party (USP), the slate which Buncamper ran on when he was elected in January 2020.
Independent MP Christopher Emmanuel also expressed concern about the suspension of Buncamper. Emmanuel said that the legislative errors must be fixed. He said that if someone is convicted of child molestation, murder, tax evasion, and other serious crimes can sit in parliament however someone convicted of bribery cannot sit in parliament even though they are receiving their salaries. Emmanuel said that this only affects the people and the taxpayers because now parliament will have to pay 16 members instead of 15.
Emmanuel also questions the writer of the country’s constitution and the reasons for adding article 50-2-b.
Members of Parliament described Buncamper as one who did his research and was very active while serving the people from the opposition benches.