Published On: Thu, Dec 14th, 2017

Parliament approves Integrity Chamber law

PHILIPSBURG – With 9 votes to 3, the Parliament approved the national ordinance Integrity Chamber on Wednesday afternoon, thus paving the way for the release of €550 million in Dutch funding for the reconstruction of the island.

National Alliance MP Rodolphe Samuel voted with the new coalition of eight – United People’s party, Democratic Party and USp-MP Chanel Brownbill in favor of the ordinance.

DP-MP Perry Geerlings underlined the need for the Integrity Chamber with a passionate statement. “A lot of integrity breaches have taken place since the caretaker government is in office.’ he said. “We know about integrity-breaches in here – and a lucky few profit from it. But when you talk about these things, you are a traitor, you are not a team player. It is time to call in accountability, responsibility and liability. We have to start leading by example. That has been lacking for years. So the question is: are we afraid that the Integrity Chamber is going to work? Or are we afraid that it is a waste of time and money?”

These remarks did not sit well with USp-leader Frans Richardson. “It is a serious accusation in Parliament that members of Parliament are corrupt.” he said. “Go to the Prosecutor’s Office with your remarks.”

Prime Minister Rafael Boasman made a presentation about the ordinance. “Some members of Parliament cannot find themselves in this document, but I could not identify the reasons for it.” he said. “I only perceived that it is about the manner in which this was done.”

NA-MP Ardwell Irion, one of three voters against the ordinance, called the handling of the legislation in such a short time – a week after MPs had received the draft – an injustice. “I highly doubt that all members of Parliament have read the law.’ he said. “I do not believe that this is right.”

That, in turn did not sit well with MP Geerlings: “Speak for yourself.” he said later.

MP Frans Richardson also voted against: “We are seeing the abuse of power by our partner in the Kingdom, in this case the Netherlands, based on aid, not based on reality. This is wrong and history will prove it.”

UP-MP Tamara Leonard, who voted in favor, still had some doubts, though her motivation seemed to address other issues: “I do feel an injustice in this situation with the salaries that we are taking home; we don’t have to work 8-hour shifts. I am looking forward to a law that brings us checks and balances.”