Shigemoto denies Blackman’s charges

POSTED: 10/17/11 11:31 AM

St. Maarten – Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto has called statements by former Finance Commissioner Xavier Blackman, including the charge that Shigemoto made payments without the commissioner of finance of executive council’s permission as groundless and baseless. The counterstatement is a reaction to a story published in this newspaper on October 14.
“I have a clean record as a civil servant. I have an impeccable career working as a public servant for 14 years in the service of the people and counting,” Shigemoto stated in a release on Sunday.
“I took the responsibility to act when situations arise and occurred that demanded my action as a public servant of the people. Bringing things forward 11-months after the fact, cannot be part of what we are trying to build here. Political maturity needs to move forward and politicians need to set the example for others to follow. With our new constitutional status as country, the people of this great island are demanding better and to do this each minister has their responsibilities and need to take action. This sometimes can lead to difficult decisions being taken, but nonetheless, decisions that are necessary to better the organization that provides service to the community,” Shigemoto further stated.
“The allegations described in the story in the daily newspaper attributed to the former Commissioner of Finance are without value. The Commissioner had 15-months to bring forth sanctions or disciplinary action for the alleged behaviour and actions.”
“I understand that in the function of Director of Resources one has to take unpopular decisions in the best interest of the island, and in doing so one doesn’t make many friends, however, that is the nature of the job and if the former Commissioner during his tenure felt that I acted as he described then he should have acted at that time and present his case to the Executive Council and have me reprimanded,” the finance minister added.
Shigemoto went on to point out that former finance commissioner Xavier Blackman received three motions of no confidence within 15-months in public office. The motions according to media reports at the time were presented because the opposition party in government believed the Commissioner of Finance had not handled the preparation of the 2010 budget properly, which had resulted in negative advices from the Board of financial supervision (Cft). The third vote of no confidence was unanimously carried by the then Island Council which also included the National Alliance, the party that brought him in as a ‘professional Commissioner.

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