Gumbs reiterates integrity is top priority; Submits notifications of assets to councilPOSTED: 01/22/15 11:06 PM
St. Maarten —Three days before the legally stipulated deadline, Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs submitted to the Council of Advice the written declarations and notifications (assets/holdings, secondary positions/interests) of the new ministers as well as those of the ministers of the former cabinet in accordance with the National Ordinance Promotion of the Integrity of Ministers (Landsverordening Integriteitbevordering Ministers).
The law stipulates that these declarations were to be submitted within 30 days from when the ministers were sworn in and accepted the appointment as a minister and within 30 days of the date on which the former ministers ceases to be a minister.
“We have stated on previous occasions that the integrity of the administration and integrity in general is a top priority for this cabinet. Government must lead by example if we want our people and our institutions (even private ones) to act accordingly and in compliance with the law. These steps demonstrate our commitment to this principle,” Prime Minister Gumbs said.
The declarations were submitted on Friday January 16th. Press Secretariat Michael Granger explained that the new ministers and former ministers, in accordance to the law, submitted their written declarations to the Prime Minister. This includes the current and former Minister Plenipotentiary.
“On the heels of signing the declaration pursuant to article 53 of the National Ordinance Registration and Finances of Political Parties, the Gumbs cabinet continues to demonstrate that it is serious about complying with the law, ensuring the integrity of the administration and addressing integrity lapses identified in the Wit-Sampson integrity report,” Granger states in a press release.
The law on Promotion of the Integrity of Ministers aims to promote the integrity of holders of political authority by preventing undesirable secondary positions and commercial interests of ministers and laying down additional rules to prevent unjustified enrichment.
It outlines that ministers and their partners should report all secondary positions and certain commercial interests of their own and of their partners and children to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister will then, after receiving advice from the Council of Advice and the General Audit Chamber, assess whether certain positions are undesirable.
By signing and submitting the declaration, the minister guarantees the reliability of the information in the declaration concerning his/her spouse or partner. The written declaration must in any event include, among other things, a detailed description of the commercial interests that they hold or manage and a detailed description of their other asset elements.
As for the National Ordinance Registration and Finances of Political Parties (Landsverordening Registratie en Financiën Politieke Partijen), this law has two objectives. The first is to promote a transparent and democratic structure of political parties. Through the proposed introduction of the association form, political parties are assigned the constitutional function in the legislation that they have long held in practice.
As a result it is possible to impose legal rules regarding political parties that can ensure that the design and functioning of these organizations, which are so important for parliamentary democracy, have a proper legal structure that is transparent for the public and is democratic. The second is the promotion of the integrity of political parties, the prevention of (the appearance of) conflicts of interest and the promotion of a balanced and clean political process.