Integrity Chamber for St Maarten

The Council of Ministers for the Kingdom has approved an order in council for the Kingdom, proposed by Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk, which provides for the establishment of an Integrity Chamber for St Maarten.

Under the proposed order, the Integrity Chamber will be tasked with supervisory and advisory duties. It will investigate suspected integrity breaches and provide binding opinions to the government of St Maarten on how to deal with them. Where a criminal offence has been committed, the Chamber will lodge a criminal complaint where necessary. The Chamber will also advise the government of St Maarten on integrity policy and make proposals in this regard. Members of the Chamber will be appointed by the Council of Ministers for the Kingdom – the body they will also report to.

The various reports on integrity issues in St Maarten show that corruption, bribery and nepotism occur at all levels of society, including the public administration system. Previously, agreement was reached with St Maarten on national legislation to establish an Integrity Chamber. However, the government of St Maarten, supported by the parliament, ultimately decided not to introduce that legislation. This demonstrates that St Maarten lacks the will to combat integrity issues independently. In light of the severity of the situation, the government of the Kingdom feels compelled to fulfil its duty of ensuring sound governance of the Kingdom by issuing an order in council to establish the Integrity Chamber.

The Council of Ministers for the Kingdom has agreed to submit the order to the Council of State for the Kingdom for an advisory opinion.