PM: “Hands full with integrity-program” Whistleblower-law is no priority

POSTED: 08/22/13 12:35 PM

St. Maarten – For the time being the government will not take action on Attorney-General Dick Piar’s call to establish legislation designed to protect whistleblowers. Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams said yesterday that Piar’s remark reminded her of the government integrity program. “That is moving forward,” she said.

“We have established by ministerial decree a committee that will guide the appointment of persons of confidence in all departments. An important part of the whole integrity awareness program is that you have persons that are knowledgeable of integrity-issues and that would serve as persons of confidence.”

Wescot-Williams added that the national ordinance integrity government of St. Maarten has been drafted. “An important part of this ordinance is the establishment of an integrity bureau,” the PM said. This bureau will be established after the ordinance has gone through the advice-process and approval by the parliament.

Wescot-Williams emphasized that establishing an integrity bureau is new for country St. Maarten and that a discussion about whistleblower-protection legislation would come “after we have seen how it is working and what the reactions are.”

“Once we put these entities into practice it will become clear what else we need to do to give the integrity program the clout we would like it to have. My proposal would be to take it step by step. If there are deficiencies they will appear along the way.”

The PM acknowledged that whistleblower-legislation is not a priority right now: “It is not the first thing for us now because we have our hands full to keep the integrity program on track.”

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