Uniformed services of the Justice Ministry recognised International Justice Day on Wednesday with ceremonies and marches in Philipsburg. Justice Minister Cornelius de Weever congratulated his ministry staff for their continued dedication.
PHILIPSBURG–St. Maarten observed the annual International Justice Day on July 17, with the theme “Corruption vs. Development.” A full day of activities was planned for workers in the Ministry of Justice on Wednesday.
The ministry’s uniformed services paraded down the streets of Philipsburg. Dignitaries such as Members of Parliament and invited guests took part in the official ceremony.
Justice Minister Cornelius de Weever said in his speech to the gathering that this year’s theme “Corruption vs. Development” is in other words “Greed vs. Need.”
“This is a global topic with a global impact. Allow me to connect it to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #16, which highlights peace, justice and strong institutions with indicators to measure local, regional and international progress, because there is a common denominator in this equation.
“When others come to visit or live and work here, they do not have the historical context of the seed that was planted. The seed is now a tree and has grown into this paradise in the Caribbean, or in the kingdom when convenient, or vice versa. Others meet a developing island that has blossomed, burned by natural and man-made hurricanes and, like a phoenix, rises out of its ashes. St. Maarten rises each time because of the resilience of our people.
“This is the spirit implanted in each one of us and it is with this spirit that we have to stand up against the many forms of corruption. It is not about pointing fingers or using someone as a poster-person to further a cause. It is about looking inside of ourselves, looking inside of our organisations, constantly evaluating and highlighting integrity challenges,” said De Weever in his address.
He went on to give five recommendations that should be considered as soon as possible in light of Justice Day. De Weever wants a Kingdom Integrity Chamber to be established, because corruption is a global challenge and not isolated to St. Maarten.
“Hire or train staff as compliance officers and/or establish a compliance bureau – ensure we have competent staff to execute their tasks independently. When we can address the issues from the beginning and along the entire process then the risks are automatically lowered of anything being corrupted.
“The principles of Trias Politica must be exercised, understanding our reality. The legislative, executive and judiciary branches must work efficiently and effectively within their parameters, rights and responsibilities. …
“Instability has been highlighted often enough as the cause retarding development – we must maintain a steady course to ensure economic development during this recovery process.
“Address the serious issues of corrupt information. Whether it is an organisation, social media, the only newspaper, or a late-night show – those who dishonestly use their position to get an advantage, especially for money/sponsors, can also be considered corrupt.
“In looking at the aim of this day and the international theme of this year, we must see how it fits into the context of daily affairs locally. According to the Governing Programme 2018-2022, it states that we want to offer hope for real and lasting growth complete with sound leadership.
“We recognise and endorse the belief that we must lead by example with the application of Christian democratic principles and good governance, stability, integrity, openness, accountability and transparency in government. This will lead to the restoration of trust in government,” said De Weever.
The day ended with gatherings at the police headquarters where justice workers mingled and welcomed their counterparts from the northern side of the island.