PM looks forward in receiving feedback

POSTED: 06/24/13 12:01 PM

St. Maarten – Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams commented recently that she looked forward to receiving the feedback from the ST. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) Annual General Meeting that had as its main topic Electoral Reform and Good Governance. “I was at the beginning part of the SHA meeting but unfortunately I had to leave early to attend a prior engagement at the library. Again I was very much looking forward to listening to the discussions and in particular the presentation of Alma Rocio Balcazar from Transparency International as I have been in close contact with that organization in order to have a national integrity assessment carried out for St. Maarten. This assessment can be considered a baseline study in terms of integrity of not only government but also of the private sector across the board,” the PM said.

“I believe that as country St. Maarten we have ensured as much as possible the necessary checks and balances especially where government operations are concerned with the constitutional court and the ombudsman being an integral part of this. There is so much talk out there about corruption and in order for us to address it people need to know they can go somewhere and speak about these things,” she said.

“A national integrity system assessment evaluates the principal institutions and actors that form a state, including all branches of government, the media, the public and private sectors, and civil society. The purpose of such a study is to identify the risk factors in a given country that foster corruption as well as medium and long-term solutions to help reduce those risks.

No matter how overt and obvious its consequences are for society, corruption is a crime that prefers to remain covert and concealed. It can take root in many areas of a society, whether in government or law enforcement, or among other actors like the media, business, political parties and so on,” the prime minister added.

The national integrity system evaluates key ‘pillars’ in a country’s governance system, both in terms of their internal corruption risks and their contribution to fighting corruption in society at large.

The pillars analyzed in a national integrity system assessment typically include: the legislative branch of government, the executive branch of government, the Judiciary, the public sector, law enforcement, electoral management body, the ombudsman, the audit institution, anti-corruption agencies, political parties, the media, civil society, and business.

“We are now working closely with transparency international to find ways to cover the costs associated with such an assessment as government cannot be involved in that aspect. We are moving forward in those discussions and I look forward to the national integrity assessment being carried out,” Wescot-Williams said.

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