Respect the High Councils Jaime Saleh tells government

POSTED: 11/2/12 2:17 PM

St. Maarten – “We have to respect these high councils of state. They are independent of the government and when they come up with advices we should respect them and when we don’t agree with them we should explain people why we are not following the advices of these councils.” Those remarks, Professor Jaime Saleh reiterated throughout a press conference called yesterday ahead of today’s good governance symposium.

Professor Saleh is the key note speaker for the 4 hour activity. As a former Governor of the Netherlands Antilles, Saleh plans to bring his wealth of experience to speak on whether governments like St. Maarten have also made good use of its autonomous status.

“It is very nice to have autonomous status but the big question for not only St. Maarten but all over the world is what we are doing with autonomy,” Saleh said.
“Is it working for the benefit of the people or not. What has happened from 10-10-10 and have we made good use of our autonomous status,” Saleh who is now a professor in constitutional kingdom law at the University of Utrecht.
Professor Saleh indicated that although it is still the government’s prerogative to heed any advice given by the High Councils of State, the society still needs to be educated on the importance of offices such as the Ombudsman and General Audit Chamber. He added that deviation from advices is still a concern throughout the Dutch Kingdom.

“That is something that is very important all over the Kingdom where people are saying, why are they deviating from the advice for the entities? That is very important because then you respect the fact that you have a council and you don’t put it aside without any kind of argument whatever. The people in this society should understand that once you have them you should respect them.

When the government is not respecting these councils, then what is the reason to have advice from a council which you don’t respect. The society in general will follow the trend of the government. The matter of respect should be taken in real consideration,” Professional Selah remarked.
Chairlady of the Council of Advice Mavis Brooks-Saloman said that government generally follows the advice given on certain issues or submits a report to the Governor justifying why they have deviated from a particular advice.
“In essence they do follow our advice maybe for 60% and they do give a reason why they do not following certain aspects of our advice. Especially the policy parts, they might see it differently and do it differently,” she stated.
The General Audit Chamber published its first report as regulatory audit on personnel expenses of government on August 23. Within that report, the chamber provided several advices for government to follow to structure personnel affairs.
“The cooperation from government can be rated as positive. However, the next step is that we would like to see our recommendations executed and that will be a matter of time to see if this will happen or not,” chairman of the audit chamber Ronald Halman said of the government’s response to his council’s recommendations.

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