Prime Minister On Unlawful Use of Royal Decrees

Prime Minister Wescot-Williams: Prime Minister Rutte and Minister Plasterk Committing Constitutional Blunder in Unlawful Use of Royal Decrees to Meddle in the Affairs of Countries

Within the Kingdom. Requests Kingdom Council of Advice to Advise on Matter

PM: "This action by the Dutch Prime Minister and Minister Plasterk sets a dangerous precedent that I will not have on my conscience for not having warned them"

The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams travelled to the Hague this past week in order to clearly outline the position of the Government of St. Maarten regarding the Dutch Prime Minister instructing the Governor of St. Maarten through a Royal Decree to conduct an integrity assessment for the Country. 

Prime Minister Wescot-Williams has made it clear that the Government of Country St. Maarten has taken several steps with regards to ensuring integrity across the board through the initiating of various integrity projects and that such an instruction would set a dangerous precedent in the meddling in the affairs of countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Council of Ministers of St. Maarten on Tuesday also signed an agreement with Integrity International to initiate an independent countrywide integrity assessment for the country. Prime Minister Wescot-Williams commented on Friday that an instruction by the Kingdom Council of Ministers, or the Dutch Government, to do an integrity assessment through a Royal Decree on St. Maarten would set a dangerous precedent regarding the meddling in the internal affairs in the Kingdom by the Dutch Government and that through the issuing of a Royal Decree a serious constitutional blunder was made by both Prime Minister Rutte and Minister Plasterk.

"The Dutch Prime Minister announced in July during his visit to the Dutch Caribbean that he would advise the Kingdom Government to instruct the Governor of St. Maarten to have the integrity of the public administration of. St. Maarten investigated. Prime Minister Rutte claimed he consulted with all parties but in fact instead of consulting he simply announced that the assessment would take place.

"Several weeks ago, the Minister of Internal Affairs and Kingdom Relations, Mr. Plasterk, presented a draft Royal Decree (KB) to formalize this instruction to the Governor of St. Maarten His Excellency Eugene Holiday citing article 43 of the Kingdom Charter and articles of the Governor’s Regulation. St. Maarten objected to the use of this article in the Charter as there is no evidence or motivation for such and if there was, then the Kingdom Government must use the instrument of a General Kingdom Measure in accordance with the same charter. St. Maarten made it clear that it is not about the investigation but about the meddling in the internal affairs of the Country and offered to have the same investigation Ministers Plasterk and Prime Minister Rutte are envisioning carried out by reputable parties within the Kingdom. This would have been in addition to tan investigation by Transparency International (TI) that the Government of. St. Maarten and TI have already agreed to and signed off on.

"Minister Plasterk then amended the draft instruction to the Governor and subsequently deleted any mention of Article 43 in the Charter. Minister Plasterk also refused to accept St. Maarten’s offer to have the investigation carried out by mutual agreement to avoid a constitutional dilemma, insisting on misusing the instrument of a Royal Decree and thus compromising the position of the Governor.

"This is a back door tactic that St. Maarten refused to accept and we subsequently instructed our Minister Plenipotentiary to make use of the constitutional possibility and ask the Kingdom Council of Advice to advise on this action by the Kingdom/Dutch Government. This has been done and the Dutch Prime Minister has been informed of such and of St. Maarten’s refusal to cooperate with such a constitutional blunder.

"On Friday, September 27th, upon learning of St. Maarten’s Minister Plenipotentiary‚Äôs request to the Kingdom Council of Advice, the Minister of Kingdom Affairs again amended the draft Royal Decree, giving the Governor an instruction, this time putting back in the third draft the reference to article 43 and again refusing St. Maarten’s offer for a joint agreement on the basis of the Kingdom Charter.

"The persisting in the unlawful use of a Royal Decree to interfere in the internal affairs of another country further strengthens St. Maarten’s request to the Council of Advice of the Kingdom to issue an advice on the fundamentals of the matter.

"Can the Kingdom Government, or better said, can the Dutch Government in a meeting of the Kingdom Council of Ministers, decide to ignore the charter and use the position of the Governor to have an internal affair of the country elevated to a kingdom matter? We believe not and will not accept such unless the highest advisory council in the kingdom can justifiably argue that the Dutch government has acted rightfully and constitutionally.

"I attended the meeting to make sure St. Maarten’s position is clear and that it has nothing to do with the matter an investigation, but that this action by the Dutch Prime Minister and Minister Plasterk sets a dangerous precedent that I will not have on my conscience for not having warned them about and offering what could have been a face-saving avenuea for them," emphasized the Prime Minister.