Published On: Thu, Nov 10th, 2016

Screening candidate-ministers nears completion

GREAT BAY – Formateur William Marlin met yesterday afternoon at 4 p.m. with Governor Drs. Eugène Holiday to discuss the state of affairs around the screening of candidate-ministers and the formation of the new government.

In yesterday morning’s press briefing, Marlin said that the information for four candidates that had to come from the national security serviced VDSM was not complete yet; for four others, information coming from the prosecutor’s office was still pending, but the formateur said that he expected to receive these reports yesterday afternoon.

The new government will be sworn in as soon as possible after all candidates have been given the all clear. This could possibly happen on St. Maarten Day, but given the circumstances Marlin was unable to give a definite date.

Two candidates were still waiting for documents from the Receiver’s Office and the tax inspectorate but due to the problems with the government’s computer systems, these documents could not be retrieved.

Marlin said however that the systems at the Receiver’s Office, the Census Office and the Tax Inspectorate would be up and running again yesterday afternoon.

The government’s computer systems suffered a virus attack, forcing the IT-department to close down computer systems to mitigate potential damage and to enable technicians to clean up the systems.

“Any system is as strong as its weakest link,” Marlin said about the virus attack. “You need only one little opening and a virus is in. Bigger countries spend billions on the security of their computer systems. Realistically, these attacks happen every day in some parts of the world.”

Later Marlin added that, according to the IT-department, civil servants use government computers to access shopping websites and “to download all kinds of information” adding that these actions make computer systems vulnerable to a virus attack.

Marlin criticized these actions of civil servants: “I do not think it is right for individual employees to download whatever they like. Our computers are part of the tools they should use to do their job.”