Published On: Fri, Dec 4th, 2020

Brison questions Governor about screening process

PHILIPSBURG – Under the guise of “considering the position of minister in Country St. Maarten” Denicio Brison has asked Governor Drs. Eugène Holiday 24 questions regarding the screening process of ministers. However, the questions seem more related to the security investigations by the national security service VDSM then with the screening process.

Former attorney Brison is currently the legal advisor to the faction of the United People’s Party (UP). He is also behind the Pro Soualiga Foundation that has made attempts to have to Kingdom charter declared null and void.

The national decree of May 22, 2013, that regulates the appointment of ministers states that the governor and the formateur have access to the results of a so-called antecedent-investigation by the attorney-general and into the results of a fact check by VDSM. The antecedent-investigation looks into the past history of a candidate-minister. The VDSM-fact check is limited to a search in existing security files.

Brison refers in his letter to the governor however to the national ordinance that regulates the VDSM, in particular to the article that stipulates that the service “gathers information concerning persons whose activities lead to serious suspicions that they present a danger to the continued existence of the democratic order or the integrity of the public administration of St. Maarten.”

“How does one determine if a candidate minister presents such a threat as to warrant triggering this provision in the law?” Brison asks, thereby suggesting that candidate-ministers are subjected to a complete security-investigation.

The VDSM is required to conduct security-investigations into candidates for confidential functions (vertrouwensfuncties). The law contains a complete list of the functions that fall under this provision. While the function of minister is not listed, Brison nevertheless asks the governor: “Has the function of minister been designated as vertrouwensfunctie?”

Brison also asks which national ordinance authorizes the governor and the formateur to have access to the results of antecedent-investigations and fact checks by the attorney-general and the VDSM respectively. This authorization is regulated in a national decree, as mentioned above, and not in a national ordinance.

Brison asks whether the VDSM can legally conduct security investigations if the function of minister is not mentioned on the list of confidential functions. The reality is that the VDSM does not conduct security-investigations into candidate-ministers; it only performs a fact check.

Furthermore, Brison asks which article in the national ordinance for the promotion of integrity among ministers requires a fact check by the VDSM or an antecedent-investigation by the attorney-general. This ordinance does not contain such an article. Candidate-ministers and their spouses or partners are asked to submit – within thirty days after taking office – a truthful written statement about their business interests, their assets, their side-jobs and associated income, and the business interests and assets of their children.

So far, the governor has not replied.

Click here to read a copy of Brison’s letter to the Governor

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