MP Sarah Wescot-Williams: “This is a slap in the face of St.Maarten”

POSTED: 02/5/15 8:18 PM

St. Maarten – “Nothing Sint Maarten has done with respect to tackling integrity issues has made any difference for Minister Plasterk and his colleagues in the Dutch cabinet,” Democratic Party MP Sarah Wescot-Williams states in a press release, adding that an article-51 measure amounts to imposing higher supervision.

Wescot-Williams notes that Kingdom Relations Minister Plasterk “has been fencing with the measure for a long time” thereby “making it appear as if St. Maarten could Ward off higher supervision with a good plan.”

Some people will react with satisfaction to this news, the MP asserts. “As we heard when Sint Maarten wanted to clean its own house and commissioned its own integrity investigation: “What do you have to fear from a measure or an instruction by the Dutch government?”

That reasoning is missing the point, Wescot-Williams says. “Let us put aside the politicians for argument’s sake. They are all in the same boat, Minister Plasterk argues. Are we to conclude that Sint Maarten cannot find even a handful of upstanding citizens to execute and guide this process and not be intimidated by the politics of the day?”

Wescot-Williams says that this would be “a sad conclusion,” one that gives no hope and that she strongly disagrees with.

The MP has asked for the draft ordinance that regulates the Integrity Chamber, but she has not received it yet. Currently the draft is at the Council of Advice for review. Prime Minister Gumbs made a copy of the draft available to journalists on Sunday.

“The easy thing for me to do would be to place the blame in the lap of the government that has been hoodwinked into believing that they were being given a chance to prove their critics wrong,” the press statement continues. “However, this slap in the face of the government is a slap in the face of St. Maarten. I get no pleasure from what has befallen us.”

Integrity is not “a matter of a day, neither are solutions available overnight,” Wescot-Williams observes, adding that she has made this clear from the day her cabinet commissioned Transparency International with a National Integrity system assessment. “By doing this, the government acknowledged the many shortcomings we have and that we want to address them structurally.”

The Democratic Party MP notes that tackling integrity is “a process of learning, establishing checks and balances, assuming responsibility and practicing openness and transparency on all levels of society.”

“I do not believe that any one institutions can accomplish this and I surely do not believe that sidelining the elected representatives of the people of St. Maarten is the way to ensure durable and lasting solutions to the problems we face,” Wescot-Williams stated.

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