Member of Parliament George Pantophlet is questioning the fact whether St. Maarten needs an Integrity Chamber or not. He came to this conclusion after reading an article in the Daily Herald entitled “Prosecutor’s Office Investigating Harbour, building of Causeway”. The article continues by mentioning that the investigation covers a range of areas including the causeway. What is interesting is that according to said article the Minister of Economic Affairs Claret Connor said and he quotes: “he hoped the Harbor would fully cooperate with the inquiry end of quote. (The interpretation is left up to the readers.) According to the article the Persecutor Karola van Nie mentioned issues surrounding the investigation such as corporate governance of the port authority, and let me insert here (where is the corporate governance council?), compliance with the law, compliance with the statutes and some specific issues and so on. Let me continue by quoting statements made by the Persecutor according to the article and I quote: Van Nie said that the proceedings had been prompted by claims from the community end of quote: And it continues to mention the different Integrity reports. Is the persecutors office implying that the people are complaining about the Harbor alone? He will explain this later on. The Member of Parliament is realizing that the real power lies in the hands of the Judiciary not Parliament. The Trias Politica consist of the Legislative Branch, the Executive Branch and the Judiciary but the order is apparently incorrect it should be the other way around. The persecutor said according to the article and he quotes due to public interest and based on the Civil code of St. Maarten the persecutors office is authorized to submit a requests to the common court of justice of Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten and Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba to investigate the policies and course of affairs of any legal entity in St. Maarten and so on. What amongst the other statements caught the eye of the Member of Parliament is the following statement: The legal entity is obliged to provide the information requested and also to grant inspection of its books, documents and other data carriers should this be required. Maybe they can request the Minister of Finance Martin Hassink to provide him with the verdict given by the courts on the AUC and Inspectorate of Taxes case.
Although the Member of Parliament is sure that the persecutor knows what is in the civil code and we are talking about the interest of the public, it would have been transparent if the persecutors office would mention where in the civil code this authority given to them can be found. Because contrary to the statements that everyone should know the law the Member of Parliament begs to differ. The people have to be informed. The Member of Parliament was told in a discussion with someone that the persecutor’s office should not only investigate the Harbor Group of Companies but all government owned companies such as Gebe N.V., Telem Group and Princess Juliana International Airport. These are companies that belong to the people and he is sure that the inhabitants of this country are concerned as to their functioning. But it would not be appropriate for them to do so at this time. Step by Step and they will get there. It is clear the persecutor’s office probably might need to be strengthened along with the High council of states organs such as the advisory council, the general auditing chamber and the Ombudsman to carry out their functions or responsibilities. We also have the National Security Service. This is why he is questioning whether there needs to be an integrity chamber or not. In his opinion the answer is a resounding no. There are enough laws and organs in place to deal with the issue of integrity.