Members are fed up with treatment by government: Corporate Governance Council calls it quits

POSTED: 02/17/14 2:21 PM

St. Maarten – All members of the Corporate Governance Council have resigned from their position since yesterday. In a press release, Chairman Louis Duzanson expressed the council’s dissatisfaction with the way the government has handled its mandate, and with the way it has been removing members “one by one.”

In a national decree dated January 22, signed by Governor Holiday and Minister of General Affairs Sarah Wescot-Williams, the term for the current council was extended from November 16 of last year to February 16. Elfreda Minerva Monte-Vlaun was in the same decree removed from the council.

“February 16, 2014 marks the end of the tenure of the first Corporate Governance Council (“CGC”). After accepting a prolongation of the tenure from November 16, 2013 to February 16, 2014 at the request of government, the CGC have now, after due consideration, decided that “it is time to call it quits,” Duzanson writes in the press release. “This decision is taken despite a recent request from government for a further prolongation for some of the members and a rotating resignation of the other members over a period of about nine months.”

Commenting on the first prolongation, from November to February, Duzanson said: “The members of the CGC at the time discussed and debated the request from government and concluded that the absence of this advisory council during the visit of the royal delegation and at a time when three integrity investigations were being initiated would certainly raise questions regarding the commitment of Sint Maarten’s government to good governance.”

In service and for the love of Sint Maarten, the members of the CGC accepted the responsibility to stay on for the requested period, to allow government ample time to focus on and prepare for the appointment of the second CGC, Duzanson added.

He further stated that the Corporate Governance Council had advised government as early as April 2013 that their tenure was coming to an end, recommending that appropriate action is taken to secure the timely succession. Despite this early warning no new council has been selected and appointed.

The new request of government, which was recently received, was again discussed and debated at length amongst the members of the Corporate Governance Council. “The conclusion they reached was that the proposal, whilst referring to the new draft Ordinance Corporate Governance, which is yet to be signed into law, was inconsistent and arbitrary and gives no guarantees that in due time new members will be appointed to replace the resigning members,” Duzanson stated.

The chairman explained that the decision not to accept a further prolongation takes into account the fact that the sitting members have worked as a tight and trusting team throughout their term in office. “They stuck it out despite the difficult circumstances under which the tasks entrusted had to be performed. Taking out the members of the team one by one, without certainty that they would be replaced with equally competent and capable people, would impair the level of quality the Corporate Governance Council is dedicated to deliver. Having accepted the first prolongation, in anticipation of government’s focus and decisions for the appointment of successors during this period, the Corporate Governance Council feels it has lived up to its commitment of service to the country.”

The CGC concludes that in spite of the difficult circumstances, “it is in the mutual interest of government and the status of the CGC that a succeeding council is selected and appointed without further delay and will be enabled to start off on a better footing than the first CGC. The CGC members therefore respectfully declined the request to agree to a second prolongation of its tenure.”.

The Corporate Governance Council wishes its successors “courage and fortitude to continue with the legacy they leave behind,” the press release states.



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