Wescot-Williams about integrity investigations: “Let them get it out of the way”

POSTED: 01/31/14 1:03 AM

St. Maarten – The government still disagrees with the way the Kingdom Council of Ministers integrity investigation in St. Maarten, but the threat that civil servants would refuse to cooperate with the Governor’s committee is off the table. Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams said yesterday at the weekly press briefing from the Council of Ministers that there are now two committees dedicated to the integrity-issue and that both committees will examine how they can bridge the gaps. “We have included that they will work with the governor’s committee,” Wescot-Williams said with a reference to the integrity committee led by Justice Bob wit that the government has installed. “Let them get it out of the way.”

The prime minister said that the government opts for a structured and sustainable process designed to empower civil servants in the way they handle integrity-issues. “The focus is on the civil service,” she said. “There are so many allegations and insinuations.”

Wescot-Williams furthermore referred to the establishment of the Integrity Bureau. Its format has been designed in cooperation with the Integrity Bureau in Amsterdam.

The appointment of “persons of confidence” in each ministry is underway, the PM announced. “They will be trained in how to handle integrity-issues.”

A committee has reviewed the nominees for the person-of-confidence positions proposed by each ministry. The Council of Minister has approved the candidates already, but the decisions still have to be formalized in a decree.

Wescot-Williams briefly referred to ads in the local newspaper from the Integrity committee that solicits information from citizens. “They ask citizens that have suspicions or fact to forward them to the committee,” she said. “I have some concerns with this approach. Could now everybody bring everything to this committee and present it as fact? I trust that the committee will sift through the information. Still, they have opened up an opportunity for people that have an issue to bring it forward.”

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