St. Maarten Prime Minister on integrity program for government: “Let the legal system do its work”

POSTED: 04/8/13 2:02 PM

St. Maarten – During her weekly radio show, Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams commented on the ongoing Bada Bing case (Orca investigation), and the steps government has undertaken to ensure integrity across the board for all institutions on the island.

The prime minister also commented on the contact that was established with the Global Anti-Corruption Organization Transparency International (TI) with regards to the Development of a National Integrity System. “The contact that has been established by myself with TI, while I think that it is a good thing that that announcement was made recently, has not been done because of the investigations which are currently taking place. The contact with TI is part of the Integrity Program with government that has been ongoing since even before we became a country. The contact was to establish the feasibility of TI as the agency which can do an assessment of the National Integrity System of St Maarten,” the prime minister commented.

The prime minister stressed that the Integrity Program initiated by her government is focused on the totality of matters that deal with integrity across the board; “This does not only apply to government but also to all the systems that St Maarten has in place. There have been some voices within the community since the Orca Investigation asking of the prime minister and other members of government to say more than has been stated until now. But I have always placed the focus on the fact that yes, there are allegations, yes we have seen the images, and so it is now up to the judicial authorities and the legal system to deal with these allegations and that has been and will be my statement,” the PM added.  “As far as I am concerned and as far as the promotion of good governance is concerned the actions of this government speaks louder than words. We have been on a trajectory since before and since 10-10-10 to ensure that the checks and balances are in place to ensure that our young democracy can function and that the integrity of our systems are guaranteed. Integrity is about combatting corruption, illegal practices, abuse of power and so on. The integrity program that we have since started encompasses creating the awareness about integrity and starting in every level of government. Wherever you have power it needs to be checked. Those that exercise power need to give account to the people. In our system you see several of these types of regulatory agencies such as the Ombudsman, the Council of Advice etcetera that give this balance,” she said.

“I am going to focus on the areas of integrity within government and will leave the legal system do its work with regards to corruption allegations. We will continue to solidify the basis of this country which is one of integrity and checks and balances,” concluded the PM.

The prime minister will be opening a new series of Integrity Workshops for Government Agencies today at the University of St. Maarten.

 

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