MP De Weever calls for a compliance commissioner on integrity matters

POSTED: 07/26/16 6:46 PM

St. Maarten News — Member of Parliament Cornelius De Weever said he will be seeking political support for the institution of a compliance commission in light of the failed attempt to set up an integrity chamber on St. Maarten. The MP noted that integrity is a serious issue across the Kingdom of the Netherlands and he had proposed that a Kingdom Integrity Chamber be established. However, he lamented the lack of focus on compliance when the Integrity Chamber was set up by parliament, only to be struck down by the constitutional court at the behest of the Ombudsman. “During the parliamentary debate on the topic of the Integrity Chamber, I mentioned the need to increase compliance within government. That need is now sensed more than before,” de Weever said.

As I continued to look at integrity from the angle of compliance, some interesting insights came up during my research and talking with those in the field. Our laws are or should be a reflection of our values and norms. Those laws regulate the various relationships we engage in and what those involved can expect from each other. When things go wrong, we have court systems in place to address disputes or render judgments as have been seen with the nullification of the Integrity Chamber Ordinance by the Constitutional Court,” MP De Weever said.

He agreed that had the parliament abided by the rules and did the process correctly, the decision of the Constitutional Court would not have stuck out the Chamber. This he noted strengthen his views for the need for compliance. “The more we stick to the rules, the smoother the interactions become and the less burden is placed on judges ultimately as less disputes would arise. In a practical sense it means that decisions from ministers, government or other public bodies will be more consistent and sound, citizens would be more aware of their opposing rights and obligations, thus creating an environment wherein corruption becomes easier to expose,” MP De Weever said. “Are we to take integrity seriously? We need to ensure compliance. Compliance is not an external matter but an internal prerequisite in promoting integrity.”

The MP proposed shifting focus on compliance and more than investigation. He thus called for a compliance commissioner to be established in St. Maarten similar to those in banks in places like the Cayman Islands. “As the compliance officers within banking institutions, and borrowing from the Cayman Islands Information Commissioner’s Office, the compliance commissioner main focus would be to assist the various ministers, governing bodies and other related institutions adhere to the relevant national and international standards, laws and regulations,” MP De Weever said.

The second responsibility of the compliance commissioner should be to make recommendations for reform in the area of compliance. Thirdly, the compliance commissioner refers cases where it appears that a criminal offence has been committed to the appropriate authorities. Last but not least, the compliance commissioner should as much as possible publish the requirements of the various laws and the rights of individuals thereunder.”

He argued that the compliance commissioner can temporarily be appointed through an unanimous motion of Parliament. He plans to present this motion and seeks support from his colleagues. “I will seek political support across party lines for this motion. Let’s get back on track,” De Weever said.

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