Published On: Wed, Jan 20th, 2021

Brison’s political interference with economic controls is an old story

PHILIPSBURG — President of Parliament MP Rolando Brison confirmed the worst fears of the authors of several integrity reports when he attempted to interfere with the work of economic control officers at the District 721 restaurant last week. The video of this incident shows Brison saying that he is “a citizen” but he is of course first and foremost a politician. That makes his actions highly questionable.

The authors of the De Wit-Samson integrity report of 2014 knew already all about it. One of he report’s recommendations reads as follows: “Consider with the reorganization and expansion of the tax inspectorate the need for additional controls in vulnerable sectors like casinos. It is by the way remarkable that when the tax inspectorate acts against a casino that does not abide by the rules there is a tsunami of criticism from the body politics. Such cheap rhetoric, used inside and outside the Parliament, does not match the honest attitude that may be expected from a responsible representative of the people.”

The integrity report produced by Transparency International notes: “Most law enforcement agencies cannot operate freely from interference, due in part to financial control by the government.”

The integrity inquiry into the functioning of the government brought the following to light: “Based on interviews conducted, ministers may exert their influence and disrupt daily activities of government departments, at times hindering these departments from effectively carrying out their functions.”

Related article: MP Christophe Emmanuel says Chairman of Parliament setting dangerous precedent

The last finding really does it for the eager MP Brison: “Many inspection and control team members states to the inquiry team that senior officials such as ministers, cabinet members and secretaries-general often interfered when inspections and controls were conducted at prominent businesses or businesses tied to prominent politicians or government employees.”

This flashback to the 2014 integrity reports shows that there is nothing new under the sun. MP Brison’s actions reveal that since those reports were published – and the government promised to do something with all recommendations – nothing much has changed for the better.

Related article: Economic controls aimed at fairness and the public good to continue