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Integrity investigation to be put on hold on St. Maarten


St. Maarten – The plans of the Kingdom Council of Ministers to instruct Governor Eugene Holiday to investigate the integrity of the country have been put on hold, Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams said during her weekly radio program One on One with the Prime Minister.

The prime minister stated that based on the steps already being taken, including concrete arrangements with Transparency International and the moving for the approval of the legislation for the establishment of an integrity bureau, the Kingdom Council of Ministers has deferred the handling of the topic until St. Maarten gives its position on their steps towards ensuring integrity.

“Since July of this year Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the intention to instruct the governor to carry out an integrity or corruption assessment for St. Maarten. When we took notice of this we objected on more than one ground when we received a copy of the proposal to be handled and that matter too was to be on the agenda. However, the Kingdom Council of Ministers has deferred the handling of that topic and that gives us the opportunity to give our decision regarding that assessment via our Minister Plenipotentiary Mathias Voges. Our main objection is centered on the point that St. Maarten has been doing all that is necessary to combat corruption and lack of integrity. For example I am happy to announce that we have an approval for an agreement by Transparency International to conduct an integrity assessment on St. Maarten. This coming week we will be formalizing this in the Council of Ministers as we continue with the legislation necessary for the establishment of an integrity bureau. That legislation has been started and we have already been offering for some time training and workshops across the board,” the prime minister stated.

She also commented that Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson has also proposed an integrity quick scan in the short term. “The minister of justice has proposed a quick-scan integrity assessment while we wait for a longer term assessment. It is therefore not necessary to instruct the governor to do an assessment. There is also no legal basis for the Kingdom Council of Ministers to act on the internal matters of the country. We are very particular about setting a wrong precedent in interfering with the matters of country or countries within the Kingdom. We now have been given the opportunity to present our case so that the Kingdom government does not have to interfere in the matter,” Wescot-Williams concluded.

Source: Today Newspaper, St. Maarten

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