PHILIPSBURG:— An agreement is exactly that, an agreement! and is never unilaterally executable. As someone who pushed for the Integrity Chamber to be established by national ordinance, I also am adamant about our institutions that are part of the system of checks and balances, such as the Ombudsman and the Constitutional Court.
The Constitutional Court ruled that the ordinance passed by the Parliament of St. Maarten did not sufficiently protect the citizens, who could be subjected to the reach of the Integrity Chamber. The government has to respect this ruling.
To now “suddenly” and without consultation appoint a quarter master for the non-existing Integrity Chamber is provocative to say the least. And this is a decision by the Dutch government? Was the agreement (protocol) not between St. Maarten and the Minister, acting on behalf of the Kingdom Council of Ministers? These 2 ( The Netherlands and The Kingdom) are being conveniently switched around. An agreement between the Netherlands and St. Maarten, which is also possible is a country-to-country agreement. The Kingdom is another matter altogether.
This is the same protocol that stipulated assistance from the Kingdom in the Justice area. However, this assistance seems to be going where the Kingdom government wants it to go, not where the plans of approach, agreed to by the same Kingdom government, recommend that the priorities within justice lie for St. Maarten.
And then to learn that the “Dutch is still hesitant on aiding with de-risking”, is even more aggravating. Do they understand the implications of this threat for the people of St. Maarten, for every citizen of this country?
Matters like this, e.g, de-risking by international banks and the threat this poses, should never be subjected to or become embroiled in the more political issues, such as the authorities and competencies of the Kingdom government vis-a-vis the government of St. Maarten.
The Government of St. Maarten can not adopt a wait-and-see attitude in this matter. A strong effort should be made to engage ourselves with the regional partners. Pick back up the talks with the OECS and others.
Our parliament must pursue the dispute regulation with diligence and urgency and stay on top of this along with Aruba and Curaçao.