Plasterk happy talks to resume

THE HAGUE–Caretaker Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk is content that St. Maarten has agreed to resume talks to set up an Integrity Chamber for the island.

In a letter that he sent to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Friday, the Minister stated that he was happy that with the agreement reached during a session at the Council of State of the Kingdom in The Hague on Thursday, St. Maarten had accepted the assistance to solve the matter of the Integrity Chamber with the Dutch Government.

Plasterk once again stated that it was his preference to address the tackling of integrity issues via a National Ordinance of St. Maarten, instead of securing this on the level of the Kingdom Government. He added that this possibility had been repeatedly relayed to St. Maarten Government.

The Minister provided the Second Chamber information on the handling of the dispute between the St. Maarten and Dutch Government during a public session at the Council of State on Thursday. He also sent the agreement reached between the two governments through the mediation of the Council of State to the Parliament.

Based on a proposal of the Council of State, the Dutch and St. Maarten Governments agreed to restart consultations between the two countries which should result in the establishing of the Integrity Chamber via a National Decree no later than October 31, 2017.

According to the agreement, the National Ordinance will incorporate the July 2016 ruling of the St. Maarten Constitutional Court regarding the Integrity Chamber and the contours that the Court gave for the establishing of this institute.

Plasterk informed the Second Chamber that, conform the agreement, he would request the Kingdom Council of Ministers to ask the Council State of the Kingdom to shelve the advice regarding the General Measure of the Kingdom Government (“Algemene Maatregel van Rijkbestuur” AMvRB) until the time that the results of the consultation between the Dutch and St. Maarten Government has been relayed to the Council of State.

The deadline for the reporting to the Council on the outcome of the talks between the two parties involved in the dispute regarding the Integrity Chamber has been set at November 1, 2017.

On April 7, 2017, the Kingdom Council of Ministers approved to seek the advice of the Advisory Department of the Council of State of the Kingdom on an AMvRB to establish an Integrity Chamber for St. Maarten.

Subsequently, the St. Maarten Government took the dispute to the Council of State of the Kingdom, based on the May 24, 2015 protocol that was signed by the St. Maarten and Dutch Governments regarding the Integrity Chamber and a few other issues concerning law enforcement.

St. Maarten Prime Minister William Marlin attended Thursday’s session at the Council of State. He referred to the agreement as a victory because it forces the Dutch Government to sit down and reach a fair understanding about the controversial establishing of the Integrity Chamber, and also because the process to invoke an AMvRB has to be stopped.

Source: The Daily Herald