PM wants new screening law

POSTED: 01/11/13 12:15 PM

St. Maarten -Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams wants St. Maarten to draft and pass its own national law on the screening of ministers. On Wednesday she revealed that she had already had a preliminary discussion with Governor Holiday, saying that it is important that the island now comes with its own legislation.

“The screening process is in place for ministers and we have done screening on St. Maarten on the basis of the existing law which is actually a law and procedure that was taken over from the Netherlands Antilles,” the prime minister said.

She added that the proposal was only in its infantile stages and had not been in the Council of Ministers yet.

“I expressed the desirability to have a national law of that nature and you’ll have a discussion on it on the draft proposal for law in the Council of Ministers. Any discussion on what it should be like and so forth will take place on the floor of Parliament….to come with something that fits the needs of St. Maarten,” the prime minister added.

For now the National Security Service has been functioning within the preamble of the Antillean legislation with the prime minister adding that the island has come a long way with its national security since 10.10.10.

Identifying and screening confidential persons to work in various government agencies is also done by the National Security Service.

During Wednesday’s Council of Ministers press briefing, when specifically asked whether it was morally correct to have a minister as part of the directorship of an adult entertainment bar, the prime minister declined to comment.

If a national screening law is passed with strict guidelines, the National Security Service would be able to unearth tax evasion, shady transactions, tax debts, ownership of certain enterprises and other unethical or even corrupt practices that threaten the legitimacy of a minister’s integrity.

During the High Councils of State national symposium held last November former Governor of the Netherlands Antilles Professor Jaime Saleh opined that screening legislation like the one Curacao implemented to scavenge the closets of elected officials was not necessary.

“In fact you don’t need any kind of legislations on screening. At the moment somebody puts himself for the job of minister, he or she should be a clean person. We don’t need a law to have that,” Professor Saleh said.

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