First meetings planned for week of December 16-20 – Wit’s integrity committee considers opening hotline

POSTED: 12/3/13 12:07 PM

St. Maarten – The independent Public Administration Integrity Committee led by Justice Bob Wit will hold its first meetings starting Monday December 16; the meetings will continue until Friday December 20, the committee stated in a press release. The committee considers opening a confidential hotline to enable citizens to provide information about integrity issues anonymously.

This week the President of Parliament, the members of the Council of Ministers and a number of governmental bodies will receive a letter in which they will be asked to name a senior contact person for the secretary of the Committee – Ron van der Veer. They will also be asked to inform the committee in writing of all measures they have taken since October 2010 to promote integrity in general and more specifically in their own organization and to indicate which integrity issues they have encountered so far in the course of their activities. This information will form a starting point for the December meetings.

Justice Bob Wit, President of the Constitutional Court of St. Maarten and a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice in Port-of-Spain presides over the committee. Rieke Samson-Geerlings, a former public prosecutor and a retired attorney-general, is the committee’s vice-president.

The other committee-members are Ronald Bandell, former mayor of Dordrecht and chairman of the Progress Committee, Jan Beaujon. Member of St. Maarten’s Council of Advice and the retired director of the Windward Islands Bank, Richard Gibson Sr., former Minister of Constitutional and Internal Affairs of the Netherlands Antilles and currently member of the board for financial supervision Cft, and retired Lieutenant-General Dick van Putten, a former commander of the Royal Dutch Marechaussee.

Van Putten replaces Erik van den Emster who was initially appointed to the committee according to an announcement by Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams on October 30. Van den Emster is the retired chairman of the Council for the Administration of Justice.

The committee’s secretary Ron van der Veer told this newspaper last night that Van den Emster initially thought he could combine his work as a judge at the court in Rotterdam with the work for the committee. “Unfortunately, after consultation with the court this turned out not to be the case,” Van der Veer said. “As an alternative the name of a substitute judge in Rotterdam came up. In the Kingdom we know him better as Lieutenant-General (ret.) Dick van Putten who was able to make time available.”

Secretary Van der Veer noted that Van Putten lived in the nineties of last century for a couple of years in St. Maarten. “He knows the situation on the island well and with his background at the Royal Marechaussee he is also bringing along valuable judicial expertise.”


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