Prime Minister Wescot-Williams Presents Integrity Projects, Contacts with Transparency International

PM: "There needs to be a better response from the side of the Netherlands"

The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams held a private meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at her Cabinet prior to the Council of Minister’s Meeting. During the meeting various items were discussed including matters related to the various integrity projects initiated by the Government of St. Maarten during the Prime Minister’s presentation to the Prime Minister of the Netherlands.

"Matters of Justice and Integrity were also discussed during my presentation to Rutte and I spent significant time explaining how the Government of St. Maarten views integrity. It is interesting to note that somehow when these things were previously said they are not registered and some were actually pleasantly surprised to learn that Government is indeed working very hard in establishing an integrity project for St. Maarten. St. Maarten is preparing the legislation to set up an Integrity Bureau and training for civil servants and politicians. Sometimes information is sent out of St. Maarten for purely political reasons that are quite harmful to the country and people need to realize this fact. When I mention that we have this integrity project on-going and that we are in talks with Transparency International some even seem surprised and it is because some of the false rumors and allegations which are being concocted for political reasons which are being thrown out in the media," commented the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister also specifically mentioned the request by the Dutch Prime Minister to Governor Holiday with regards to Integrity. "The request to the Governor, via Prime Minister Mark Rutte, to explore integrity is fine by me. What does bother me, and this is information that we receive from our Minister Plenipotentiary, is that in the Kingdom Council of Ministers they continue to raise questions and present inaccurate information regarding St. Maarten despite us giving the correct information through our Minister Plenipotentiary. We have given a whole explanation on the matter of integrity to the Kingdom Council of Ministers. Clearly the Dutch Government took and is taking a position while not having all of the information available despite us putting all of those things clearly into perspective.

"We received information that the Dutch government is concerned with regards to integrity. When the Kingdom Council of Ministers receives information regarding to St. Maarten I told the Prime Minister Rutte that they should verify the information and see what is being done on St. Maarten instead of jumping the gun. We took the lead into ensuring integrity with our programs and I personally contacted Transparency International. We even have an agreement with the city of Amsterdam in ensuring integrity and have even developed laws to ensure integrity.

"If the Kingdom or Dutch Government feels that the Governor needs to do a report to them with regards to integrity well I do not necessarily have a problem with that. If that is what they want I do not have issue with that. I do have a problem with the information being provided and no response being received based on that. Sometimes I wonder what is done with all of the information we provide the Netherlands as items which have been worked on, are being worked on and will be worked on are constantly being brought up and questioned. There needs to be a better response from the side of the Netherlands," commented Prime Minister Wescot Williams.