Dutch Parliament increases pressure on St. MaartenPOSTED: 11/14/14 9:19 AM
THE HAGUE – Sint Maarten has to come up fast with a concrete plan to guarantee the integrity of ministers, otherwise a possible new instruction looms for the country, Jamila Baaziz reports on Caribisch Netwerk.
Kingdom Relations Minister Ronald Plasterk said on Wednesday during a debate in the Second Chamber again that visible improvements are sorely needed. At the same time, he expressed the hope to be able to execute measures together with St. Maarten that benefit integrity and that will make a new instruction unnecessary.
Civil servants in The Hague are working on the measures that were announced on October 1, amongst others to strengthen the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Detective Collaboration Team RST, and the establishment of a unit that is going to tackle white-collar criminality. “That unit must also be able to look at the government-owned companies and the private sector,” Plasterk said.
The minister said that he soon wants to discuss the measures that are currently under development in the Netherlands in the Kingdom Council of Ministers. Then he wants to execute them in collaboration with St. Maarten. Plasterk did not mention a specific timeframe.
It is clear that the action plan is the exclusive design of The Hague and that there is little contact about it with St. Maarten at the moment. Plasterk: “In the end we will have to implement it together, even though it’s being kept back somewhat right now. I am convinced that we will reach an agreement together. The action program is important so that citizens can take it that the government and the politicians stand for the general interest and that there is no abuse of power and conflict of interest.”
The Second Chamber does not entirely share Plasterk’s hope that St. Maarten and the Netherlands will reach an agreement. The members of parliament are happy that Plasterk has intervened through the Kingdom Council of Ministers, but they are not seeing any results yet.
Roelof van Laar is pertinent: “If the government of St. Maarten does not give us a plan of approach and a timeframe and makes it look like the Netherlands is responsible for their problems, I will choose the side of the population and I will strongly support a new instruction if it gets that far.”
For Ronald van Raak (Socialist Party) it is now or never as far as tackling corruption and nepotism is concerned. “Is something going to change or are we donating the country to the mafia and the bad money?”
André Bosman finds it incomprehensible that St. Maarten says that it will not cooperate with the additional screening the Netherlands has imposed. “If we do not give content to the instructions we may as well establish that the Kingdom Charter can go into the trash, into the shredder.”