Lisa Alexander writes: Corruption vs. integrity

POSTED: 03/4/16 1:24 PM

Dear Editor,

Corruption is the misuse of authorized power by individuals placed in positions of trust, to act or not to act in ways that ensure personal enrichment in cash or kind. We must eradicate corruption and lack of integrity at the highest levels in government structure.

If Sint Maarten was a country “governed by the rule of law” then the Governor and Parliamentarians alike, despite their personal preferences, would have insisted that the law must run its course after Dissolution Order National Decree (Landsbesluit) L.B. 15/0992 took effect and dissolved Parliament at 00:00AM 15 December 2015 (to take effect 14 March 2016). Instead, they are deliberately allowing the Constitution to be contravened by not giving effect to the provisions of this Decree.

One of the many ways in which corruption takes place is through the use of ministerial decrees. These are only one of the three legal regulations (national ordinances, national decrees containing general measures and ministerial decrees) as outlined in the National Ordinance Transitional Legal and Administrative Provisions and Article 81 of the Constitution, where Ministers of Government are able to leverage the power of the fact that they are sole signatory to the Ministerial Decree. So “personal favors” can be executed in order to secure votes, cash, etc. through the use of this legal instrument.

On September 30, 2013, the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, by Kingdom Decree, charged the Governor of Sint Maarten with the responsibility to conduct an Integrity Inquiry to identify shortcomings and provide recommendations into the proper functioning of the Government of Sint Maarten as required in a democratic state governed by the rule of law. The Kingdom Decree resulted from concerns of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom based upon media reports, public questions, perceptions about integrity and reputation, and perceptions from reported integrity breaches by politicians in Sint Maarten. Almost six months later, on February 21, 2014, PricewaterhouseCoopers (US) International LLC was commissioned by the Governor of Sint Maarten to perform an independent Inquiry into the setup and operations of the Government of Sint Maarten

Further, Transparency International also completed an integrity assessment in the middle of 2015 and the following statement was made in the Transparency International’s National Integrity System Assessment 2015 Report, “…..citizen activism is not present, the ability from within society to influence government policies and decisions is lacking.” The report can be found here…/st._maarten_national_integri…

Corruption can only be stopped:
1.If we as citizens of Sint Maarten do not cooperate with corrupt, lawless acts or in-actions on the part of our elected and appointed representatives.
2.If we as citizens of Sint Maarten expose corrupt, lawless practices, actions or in-actions on the part of our elected and appointed representatives.

Citizens of Sint Maarten, we are smarter than they think we are. It is the reason why “by the exercise of our universal right to self-determination, as expressed in the referendum of 23 June 2000, with which we freely chose for the status of Country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands”;
We have to free ourselves of this pervasive hypnosis, based on promises, which allow us to be used by our appointed and elected representatives in order to further their agendas based on ulterior motives. Instead of being a country governed by the rule of law, they appear to want Sint Maarten to remain as a country governed by what is convenient to a group of lawless individuals who are determined to use their positions of power as bargaining tools in order to gain personal advantage.

It is our legal right to know the lawful basis of government actions or in-actions if the law is being broken and to take a stand against such actions/in-actions if they cannot provide such legislation.

Take a stand for integrity and do not be infested by corruption. After all, the very individuals who are responsible for making laws, executing laws and upholding laws are the ones breaking the laws.

Lisa Alexander

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