MPs voice concerns on abuse via new administrative law

PHILIPSBURG–While enforcement of regulations already on the books via administrative procedures, rather than a criminal case is the focus of a new regulation before Parliament, the possibility of abuse of power was of high concern for Members of Parliament (MPs).

MPs called on Justice Minister Rafael Boasman to assure them of the means by which abuse will not take place, should they pass the draft law.

The draft amendment to the administrative law seeks to give specific civil servants in all ministries the power to give offenders notice and issue a warning in an attempt to rectify the problem. If that procedure does not get action from an offender, e.g. the acquisition of missing permits, the next step would be to issue a fine.

The issuance of a fine by an inspector of any of the ministries is not possible, as enforcement sits with the Prosecutor’s Office. The goal of the draft amendment is to take issues dealt with by the ministries out of the criminal sphere, and bring them into the administrative procedure.

MPs present Tuesday for the continuation of the Central Committee meeting that started in February were supportive of the law in general, but added the need for caution and checks and balances to minimize any abuse.

The need to extend the ability to issue fines to government advisory bodies such as St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce, was also raised. MP Claret Connor urged Boasman to speak with the Chamber’s Board and management about the bottlenecks they face and to seek ways to assist them.

The Minister will be back in Parliament in two weeks to address the concerns of the MPs.

Source: The Daily Herald