Minister Arrindell: STAT-employee is privately responsible for failed survey

POSTED: 04/8/16 2:00 PM


St. Maarten News – Minister Ingrid Arrindell puts all responsibility for the fraud with a survey of the Royal Dutch Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) at the institute’s doorstep.

The survey aimed to examine the relationship between the islands and the Netherlands and also looked at local politics and media consumption. On five of the six islands threw survey went smoothly, but in St. Maarten it did not because the field interviewers returned such unlikely response percentages (above 90 percent) that the researchers declared the exercise for St. Maarten a failure. In an interview with this newspaper, published on January 25, the institute’s director Gert Oostindie and lead researcher Wouter Veenendaal said that the Bureau of Statistics in St. Maarten is not to blame for the failure.

STAT provided 1,000 random addresses and an employee of the bureau coordinated the fieldwork in her own time, outside of STAT.

Minister Arrindell stated yesterday that, indeed, the STAT-employee was working for KITLV.

“The employee was privately responsible only to KITLV as the local coordinator to recruit the interview team, manage their work and submit completed questionnaires back to the research team in the Netherlands.”

The institute paid $20 for a completed questionnaire on other islands, but in St. Maarten the institute paid nothing to seven of the nine interviewers because their response percentages were unreliable. The other two interviewers did 200 interviews between them, and their response percentages were normal, but the results were considered not representative.

The Department of statistics said that the employee in question works in close collaboration with the relevant project manager on surveys for STAT. The department has protocols in place to guarantee the objectivity, accuracy and reliability of its surveys, the minister stated.

Oostindie and Veenendaal met with STAT-manager Mikini Hickinson in January and they came away with a good impression. “She reacted very professional and explained to us the controls that are in place for the research they do. That was solid. She was also upset that someone had done something like this, and I understand that. STAT has not done anything wrong, but still an employee of STAT was involved,” Oostindie told this newspaper at the time.

While Minister Arrindell firmly puts the responsibility for the failed survey elsewhere, she concludes her press statement with the announcement that she is “further reviewing the situation.” The objective of this review is “to independently confirm the accuracy of these allegations and to take appropriate action in the event that they are proven to be valid.”

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