GREAT BAY – Prime Minister William Marlin was “flabbergasted” when he read that the Dutch government had appointed Hans Leijtens as the quartermaster for the Integrity Chamber. At the same time, Marlin noted that the government had not received any official communication about the appointment.
Marlin said at Wednesday’ Council of Ministers press briefing that the country does not need an Integrity Chamber.
“The faction of the National Alliance vehemently opposed the legislation to establish the Integrity Chamber in the form it was proposed. It is not that we are against addressing integrity issues but there are enough mechanisms in place to handle them.”
Marlin emphasized that the government is committed to tackling integrity issues. “But we think that an Integrity Chamber is not necessary.”
Marlin pointed out that the Dutch government is well aware of the process the legislation for the Integrity Chamber is going through. After the parliament approved the law, the Ombudsman submitted it for review to the Constitutional Court. That found serious flaws in it and sent it back for amendment. That process is still a work in progress.
“The appointment of the Dutch quartermaster in itself is a breach on integrity,” Marlin said. “This is a man who could not find his place at the Royal Marechaussee; he went to the Tax Inspectorate and did not do a good job there. And then they had to find another job for him and said, oh, wait, we need a quartermaster in St. Maarten.”
Marlin emphasized several times that the establishment of the Integrity Chamber is not a priority for the current government. “We do not need an Integrity chamber with people appointed by the Netherlands policing every decision we take. Do we have integrity issues? Absolutely; yes. Does the American government have integrity issues? Do the Dutch have them? They too have integrity issues, but there is not one country in the kingdom that has an Integrity Chamber. So why St. Maarten? We are capable and prepared to deal with integrity issues and we have the institutions for it, like the prosecutor’s office and the national detective agency, and we don’t need to add more.”
Marlin furthermore referred to the recent arrest of two employees of the immigration department and – without mentioning his name – the suspension and subsequent dismissal of Udo Aron as the head of the immigration services.