Minister Plasterk: “Screening is a matter for St. Maarten”

POSTED: 06/27/13 3:29 PM

St. Maarten – Kingdom Relations Minister Ronald Plasterk says that the screening of candidate-ministers “is a matter for country St. Maarten that is regulated in the national ordinance Promotion Integrity of Ministers.” The Netherlands is not involved in this process, Minister Plasterk wrote in answer to questions by VVD-MP André Bosman.

“It is however obvious that not only St. Maarten but the whole Kingdom benefits from a good screening procedure for candidate-ministers in St. Maarten. This is why the Kingdom Council of Ministers has urged St. Maarten to pay attention to a careful screening with the new government. The governor of St. Maarten has asked Prime Minister Wescot-Williams in the formation-assignment to pay attention to the screening process as well. This is a tangible follow up of the expression of concern of the Kingdom Council of Ministers.”

Minister Plasterk wrote that he is aware of the reports about statements by Independent MP Laville that UP-leader Theo Heyliger offered him $350,000 for a return to his party. “I am not involved in the formation-process in St. Maarten but I am aware of the reports,” Plasterk wrote. “It is however not up to me to make statements about the integrity of possible individual candidate-ministers of St. Maarten. In general I am of the opinion that a very strict integrity-test after the example of Curacao is highly desirable. The Kingdom Council of Ministers has stated this on several occasions.”

In the same vein, Minister Plasterk dodged a question from Bosman about the investigation into vote-buying by the UP during the 2010 elections. “Are you aware that the investigation by the National Detective Agency still has not been completed?” Bosman asked.

Plasterk’s answer; “Maintaining law and order is part of the autonomous competencies of the countries. This means that it is up to the Public Prosecutor’s Office in St. Maarten to determine of and if so who should be prosecuted. As the Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations of the Netherlands I am not responsible for criminal investigations in country St. Maarten.”

But Plasterk did offer his opinion about the practice of vote-buying in answer to another set of Bosman’s questions. “If votes are being bought this does indeed serious harm to every Democracy, wherever it is. I am not in a position to make statements about the reasonable terms for criminal investigations in St. Maarten.”

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