Published On: Mon, Apr 17th, 2023

“Politics is heavily involved in filling management positions at the Cadastre”

PHILIPSBURG — What is so secretive about the Cadastre that is warrants a closed-door meeting of parliament? StMaartenNews.com discussed this issue with an organizational consultant, who offered a blistering conclusion about the Cadastre-management: “There is no specific expertise present.”

“The Cadastre is a public entity with public registers and it operates in close association with other actors in the sector of technical and legal land registration and land management. How can there be any issue that cannot be disclosed to the general public, if it has not to do with apparent illegality?”

The consultant broke the organizational process down in three easily understood parts. Management is appointed by the supervisory board, this board is appointed by the minister of finance who in turn is appointed by the governor based on nomination by a political party.

Surely, the consultant observes, the minister is a politician tasked with the implementation of a political agenda. Candidate-ministers are not subject to objective and binding requirements.

Among members of the supervisory board at least one should have a legal background, one a background in finance.

Criteria for nomination should contain objective requirements for education, competence, expertise and experience. “It is not clear whether that is in place. So the question becomes: who nominates the candidates and what criteria are used to select them?”

“The composition of the supervisory board with respect to these factors is essential for the functioning of the Cadastre,” the consultant observes, adding that its quality is reflected “through the professional competence of its staff and above all, its management.”

The role of the supervisory board is to compose the management and to see to it that a sound policy is drafted and implemented. To make this work requires cooperation between supervisory and management.

Management must have specific competence. “This is crucial because it is responsible for setting out and implementing a policy plan for the mid and the long term. Management also has to keep up with technology.”

In an ideal world this is all in place and it would make it easy to obtain annual reports and management data about the functioning of the Cadastre. If both the supervisory board and management are ill-trained, incompetent and incapable the result is a blueprint for serious problems. “As these problems last longer, they will become structural.”

The consultant has a definite opinion about the situation at the Cadastre. “Looking at the composition of the current Cadastre-management one conclusion is beyond doubt. There is no specific expertise present.”

So why then is there a plan for a closed-door meeting of parliament? Are there political motives that must be kept hidden from the public? And what about the recent suspension of the Cadastre-director? “If he has done something bad enough to get suspended there cannot be a good working relationship with the supervisory board.”

“As an organizational consultant, I ask myself why parliament is demanding a closed-door meeting instead of asking that the responsible minister takes immediate steps to end this unhealthy situation with an incompetent and incapable management.”

The simplest, and most likely accurate explanation goes like this: “The fact that the finance minister, the parliament or the supervisory board is not making a move to clean up the Cadastre-crisis lays bare that politics are heavily involved in the filling of management positions at this important entity. They prefer to let it suffer instead of placing national interest about party-political interests.”


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