PM Gumbs releases ambitious plan of approach: Integrity measures in place by June 2016

POSTED: 02/5/15 7:41 PM

St. Maarten – In its plan of approach for the execution of the recommendations made in the three integrity reports that were published last year, the government has made the establishment of the independent Integrity Chamber its number one priority. The plan notes that the Council of Ministers has agreed to the appointment of an independent integrity functionary. Execution of the plan will cost an estimated 3.2 million guilders.

The cabinet has planned four months (from October 2014 until January 2015) for the development of project plans and for taking temporary measures, another 6 months (ending July 2015) for draft legislation and governmental advice and the next twelve months for the implementation of the measures. If all goes according to plan, all measures will be in place by June 2016.

In the field of legislation, the focus is primarily on the national ordinance for the promotion of integrity among ministers, the national ordinance registration and financing political parties, the national ordinance accountancy, the rules of order and the handbook for the Council of Ministers and the establishment of the Gaming Control Board. Screening-legislation will also be reviewed.

The plan of approach was already complete in November 2014, therefore before the current cabinet took office. Yesterday Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs ordered his press secretariat to send the document to the media.

The plan furthermore includes attention for human resources management. The focus is on training civil servants to increase the awareness about integrity violations. The plan mentions in particular the strengthening of human resources aspects within the justice ministry. Clear regulations for the makeup of the cabinets of ministers are also in the pipeline.

The exchange of information between the civil service and the government and government services is an important priority within governmental development. The cabinet intends to establish a specialized anti-corruption and organized crime task force and to implement a judicial information system.

The airport and the harbor are also in the crosshairs of this plan of approach. Justice Minister Dennis Richardson already had an audit done on security at the airport. The project plan security ports are geared towards measures to prevent and to combat corruption at the airport and in the harbor.

The cabinet supports an active communication policy to be executed by the Public Prosecutor’s Office towards perceived integrity violations. The establishment of an external hotline for reporting integrity-violations is part of the plan.

In the field of governmental development, the plan envisions amongst others the implementation of a national decree that outlines a minister’s authority to lift moratoriums, the publication of information about permits, tenders and procurement, prolonging the terms public prosecutors serve in St. Maarten and strengthening the capacity at the prosecutor’s office and the National Detective Agency.

To monitor the progress of all these initiatives an independent progress committee has been established. This committee consists of the former vice-chair of the Council of State Herman Tjeenk Willink, Justice Bob wit and retired banker Jan Beaujon.

The project bureau consists of Udo Aron, acting secretary general (SG) at the Ministry of Justice, Hensley Plantijn, SG at the Ministry of General Affairs and Arno Peels, acting SG at the Ministry of Finance.

The project bureau has a secretariat consisting of Cassandra Janssen, SG Council of Ministers and Shadyra Francisca, a senior manager consulting at Bearing Point.

Furthermore, the project bureau is assisted by project leaders in the fields of legislation, human resource management, communication, integrity chamber, governmental development and administrative and legal enforcement.

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