Editorial: Public disclosure

POSTED: 07/31/14 10:35 PM

That former ministers have to file a declaration about their assets and finances within thirty days after leaving office seemed like a good idea. The reality is that this requirement – even though non-compliance carries a maximum prison sentence of 3 years – is utterly meaningless.

As long as there declarations are not screened thoroughly and as long as no action is taken when they even seem of a dubious nature, politicians are able to file whatever they want without having to fear consequences.

Against this background, DP-candidate Emil Lee’s initiative to join the Open Government Partnership program comes across as the right remedy. Ideally, this program would move St. Maarten to a culture where full public disclosure for elected and appointed politicians becomes the gold standard.

Right now the office of the prime minister could receive dubious declarations – or no declarations at all –  while there is no requirement for the PM to take action. That lets politicians with the wrong ideas way too easy off the hook.

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