Published On: Wed, Dec 6th, 2017

Integrity Chamber draft law on its way to Parliament

Rafael Boasman 20171206 - HH - on Integrity ChamberPHILIPSBURG – The Council of Ministers sent the draft law Integrity Chamber on Tuesday to the office of Governor Holiday for forwarding to Parliament. Prime Minister, Rafael Boasman, said at Wednesday’s Council of Ministers press briefing.

“I have heard comments that this is all taking too long,” Boasman said. ‘But there are procedures that we have to follow. If we don’t, and someone objects, we might have to start from scratch again.”

Asked whether the relevant counterparts in the Netherlands are aware that, after approval by Parliament, the Integrity Chamber law is still subject to a six-week review by the office of the Ombudsman, Boasman said, “I don’t think there is anyone – in The Hague or elsewhere – who can now say that they do not know what the process is. Former Minister Plasterk indicated that he was totally disappointed and even angry, but he was not aware that that process via the Ombudsman had to take place. When I attended the pledging conference in New York, everybody knew what is going on in St. Maarten and what the arguments were.”

Boasman emphasized that St. Maarten had a legislative process that has to be followed. “I understand the urgency, but we have to follow the process that is laid down in our Constitution. For this reason, the Prime Minister said, “I caution those who create the impression that we can have recovery funds the day after a piece of legislation reaches Parliament and has been approved.”

PM Boasman got some laughs when he addressed the role of the World Bank in the recovery operation. “The Netherlands has put an organization in place apart from the day to day affairs of government; they have appointed a director-general (Hans Leijtens – ed.). We should do the same in St. Maarten because this is at least a 2-year project. There will be a working conference next week with senior civil servants; they have stay and they have to guarantee continuity. Ministers come and go, especially in St. Maarten.”

Boasman also addressed the recovery project and the agreement with the Netherlands about border control. He met with Nico Schoof, who replaced Erwin Arkenbout as the chief of the recovery mission in St. Maarten per December 1, to discuss the recovery process and the way forward. Boasman also met with Hans Vroeg and Chris Heze, commanders of the Royal Marechaussee about the execution of the border control agreement.

A work conference has been planned for early January of next year with representatives of local and Dutch representatives of the police and customs departments.

Photo caption: Prime Minister Rafael Boasman during Wednesday’s council of Ministers press briefing. Photo Hilbert Haar.