Wescot-Williams concerned about Rutte’s request for integrity-probe

POSTED: 07/29/13 6:09 PM

Rutte and Wescot-Williams

Prime Ministers Rutte and Wescot-Williams are all smiles at a press conference on Thursday July 18; now the mood has soured. Photo Today / Milton Pieters

“Media took independence statement out of context”

St. Maarten – The media took comments by Prime Minister Mark Rutte about independence out of context, Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams said on her weekly radio program. “Despite the various things that were said various media sources unfairly focused on those comments,” the PM said. She also commented on Rutte’s request to the Governor about integrity.

“I can understand why the call for independence throws some people off guard and in my opinion too many people have been paying attention to those statements. The issue came up in the context of talking about the constitutional changes. Now that the islands from the former Netherlands Antilles have a different constitutional status, there is a lot of work to be done to get this status the way we want to see it. The statement was made in the context of moving away from constitutional towards economic talks. The only comment that PM Rutte made was that if there was a need for countries to be independent those discussions could be had,” Wescot-Williams said.

“There has been much criticism in Holland towards the Dutch Caribbean, in particular towards St. Maarten, from the Dutch media. They either don’t know or don’t want to know about the reality of what is occurring in the Caribbean. Instead of them wanting to know the truth they focus on hearsay and this is an example of that,” the PM said.

Wescot-Williams also stated that she had some concerns about Rutte’s request about integrity issues. “I am concerned about the statement by Rutte buy mexican valium online asking the Governor to conduct an integrity assessment, although I have not seen required paperwork on that. The concerns that I have are related to the fact that Rutte has indicated he will make that request on behalf of himself and Minister Plasterk. This is not possible according to the laws that govern the Kingdom Council of Ministers. A decision by the Kingdom Council of Ministers needs to happen exactly there. Our Minister Plenipotentiary forms a part of that council.

“It is clear, and Prime Minister Rutte is aware, that there is an integrity program on St. Maarten that has been ongoing from since before 10-10-10. I would hope that the Kingdom Council of Ministers would research the things that happen here before they make a decision either way. Integrity is a process and that process needs to be respected. To ask the governor to do such an investigation is simply a way to go back to the media and say I have done this or that. However what are the real benefits for us on St. Maarten?” Wescot-Williams said.

The PM believes that Dutch Ministers “sometimes lose sight the fact that there is a Dutch Cabinet of Ministers and when there are meetings of the Kingdom then the ministers plenipotentiary of the three islands participate. It can’t be so that the Dutch Prime Minister and Minister Plasterk agree to do something and say it is on behalf of the kingdom government. Kingdom decisions are made in the Kingdom Council of Ministers. We need to safeguard the autonomy of the countries against infringements. That is why I am concerned about the decision and I want to see it clarified,” the PM said.

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