Delegation-leader Jeroen Recourt concerns

POSTED: 01/5/14 10:22 PM

“Concerns remain, but happy with positive developments”

St. Maarten / By Hilbert Haar – “I have a lot of respect for everything St. Maarten has achieved in such a short time,” Jeroen Recourt told this newspaper last night at the end of the first day of a visit by a delegation of Dutch parliamentarians and senators to the Caribbean. The delegation visited Statia during the day; late in the afternoon they met with Governor Drs. Eugéne Holiday and with Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams. Those talks were “open and passionate” Recourt said.
The delegation heads to Saba tomorrow and to Bonaire on Monday. The inter-parliamentary kingdom consultation in Curacao begins on Tuesday.
Recourt, a former judge at the Common Court of Justice in Curacao is the leader of the Dutch delegation. His assessment of St. Maarten is rather mild, but that is not to say that he is ready to ignore the obvious problems the country has to deal with. “The date of 10-10-10 was chosen and St. Maarten went ahead with country status. We had our concerns about such a young country without institutions, without experience in the organizing of its checks and balances. But with a lot of effort a lot has been achieved in a very short time.”
Recourt refers to the achievements of the office of the Ombudsman, and the establishment of the General Audit Chamber and other high councils of state.
“In terms of quality that is something,” he said. “You have to make sure that a country has sufficient resilience. I have a lot of respect for that.”
Recourt said that there are obvious concerns about integrity “and about other matters in government that are not kosher. However, we express those concerns. It is important to do that with each other. It is positive that there is a development in the good sense of the word.”
Unlike D66-leader Alexander Pechtold who told this newspaper some years ago that St. Maarten “is not on the radar of politicians in The Hague,” Recourt assured that this is not the case now. “The country appears very strong on the radar,” he said.
Recourt is also positive about the two integrity-investigations that are currently underway. “I expect that, if these investigations bring criminal matters to light, that the Public Prosecutor’s Office will deal with them. If matters come to light that require better guarantees for integrity in government, I am sure that this will be dealt with as well. After all, you want to know what is going on.”
Recourt is not ready to share our concern that the recommendations from the investigations will be ignored. “I have the impression that St. Maarten is not doing its investigation to be done with it. They really want to address this.”
The delegation spoke with the governor and the prime minister not only about integrity but also about the budget, the tax inspectorate, and the evaluation of the constitutional status that is on the agenda for 2015. “We had a lot of concerns but right now we see positive contributions,” Recourt concluded. “Our concerns remain but we are happy with the positive developments.”

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